New day same old arguments
No sooner had renowned teacher John MacArthur announced his October ‘Strange Fire” conference when Dr. Michael Brown (askdrbrown.org/) addressed the premise and motive for the conference in Charisma News.
With full deference and respect for MacArthur, Brown implores his readers to ask the question of whether John MacArthur has charged the leaders of the charismatic movement with the unpardonable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Recently a Christian friend sat in a teaching at a large Baptist church where the subject was the second coming of Christ. My friend, a rather humble electric lineman, but fully studied on eschatological doctrine, was taken aback by the teacher’s refusal to admit that any part of the book of Revelation was futuristic.
The teacher, pastor was a seminary professor in a local seminary and the church where he pastored obviously hung on his every word trusting that someone with such credentials could not be wrong. His preterist view seemed wrong to my friend even though he was not even aware of what the term ‘preterist’ stood for - I told him.
Oddly only a few days after I discussed preterism with my brother I visited the book store at the seminary where the aforementioned teacher was employed as a professor. Standing in the aisle next to me as I perused a book was a small group of seminarians discussing how they had given up most of their Calvinistic doctrinal leanings. It was a discussion that almost capitulated into an argument. I was amazed that after hundreds of years of debate about Calvinism, that anyone at all still gave it much serious thought.
Which argument will bring salvation to the hearers?
Only someone totally unlearned or hopelessly naïve has not heard of the ongoing doctrinal disputations that have been part of Christianity since the Lord left this planet and guaranteed that he would return in due season.
Is baptism to be effusion or immersion, does the Holy Spirit give gifts to men today or has that all passed since the first century? Perhaps the questions are perfectly legitimate but the pursuit of the answers to the point of dividing believers is the very stuff of satanic intrusion.
The Apostle Paul warned: “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Gal 5: 15)
While Christians are eating each other alive, just how many people are led to the cross, how many see the love of God? If you said, none – you are correct.
Turning the hand of Israel’s enemies against their own is a device designed and used by God throughout history and includes today, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Libya being prime examples. The question we have to ask is - wouldn’t Satan use this device if he could, to confuse and neutralize the Church? If you think he may, then you have only to ask if you are part of that confusion.
Are you at odds with lots of other Christians, ministries and certified preachers of the gospel and teachers of the prophetic? Is this what God has called you to do? God is not divided against himself. (Mt 12: 26) Your narrative must change if you are to be of any service to God.
Identifying falsehoods and false teachers is like cutting a path through a mine field. You find, mark and avoid the mine – then you get going forward with the rest of your squad or army. If you have someone standing at the mine twenty centuries later, something might just be a bit askew.
Being ‘left behind’ doesn’t strictly mean that you’ve missed the rapture
Because my articles are shared across the nation in both secular and Christian sites I have endeavored to keep them theologically simple, but never at the expense of accuracy. It is wholly accurate to say that God is a dispensationalist. He does things differently as time progresses because of his sovereignty and our needs as a civilization.
The most obvious examples are his dispensation of law, followed by the time we now call the age of grace. There are only three significant periods or dispensations left before eternity begins. One period is happening now and while it may not truly be a dispensation it is a special emphasis tagged on to the very end of a dispensation we all now call ‘the last days.’ (2Tim 3: 1)
The period we are referring to may be called the ‘times of the signs,’ it is seen in passages and entire chapters of the Bible like Matthew 24. Following these times we have two distinct periods left. One is the ‘tribulation period,’ a seven year long time when evil comes to fruition and the entire world decides to follow the political, military and economic genius known as the antichrist.
The final pre-eternity dispensation is a wonderful period of rest for the entire earth and is known as the Millennial Kingdom. It is well described in scripture, but here is the short version – Christ is here! (Rev 20: 4)
People have lagged behind each of God’s dispensations right up to the present time. Jews are still waiting for a Messiah that has already come. Some are waiting for last day’s signs when about 95 percent of them have already happened in less than one generation. They are left behind in the last dispensation for lots of reasons. Refusal to leave a comfort zone, fear of the unknown, peer pressure and doctrinal confusion are but a few reasons.
If we were to examine each person or group the positions held would be quite varied – here are but a few possible retorts, questions and excuses we have already heard and some we will no doubt hear in the very near future.
Reasons we have all heard why people stay in old dispensations – or may hear in the future
The Jews: We don’t see how this man could possibly be the Messiah and after all, can any good thing come out of Nazareth?
“When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” (Jn 7: 31b)
The second coming scoffers: My denomination says, since no man knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return, we should just live from day to day.
“Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” (Luke 12: 56)
No gifts crowd: The text used to declare that the gift of tongues has passed also says knowledge has passed. What? Why should we spend one single day gaining theological knowledge or studying the languages of the bible? Why attend bible school or seminary. If you are going to use the proof text honestly then close down those schools. Paul informed the Corinthian Christians that the Holy Spirit would provide nine separate gifts of the Spirit. Where are the proof texts that say the other eight will pass as well? Why are they not also dismissed in most evangelical churches? The word we are looking for here is not so much error, but inconsistency.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (Eph 4: 8)
Bible hair splitters: Perhaps seeking a Bible school or seminary degree is as futile as seeking some gift of the Holy Spirit! Hasn’t knowledge passed away according to the Apostle Paul, when he said…
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1Cor 13: 8)
No dreams, visions and prophecies please: For those who say that such things, spoken of by the prophet Joel, (Joel 2: 28, 31) were for the beginning of the last days (first century) why are they spoken of in context with those things that elsewhere are promised will be seen in the very last days of the – last days?
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2: 30 -31)
Theistic evolution crowd: Even if the bible did not find God proclaiming that he created the worlds, wouldn’t it be enough that Jesus stated that Adam and Eve were historical figures. (Mark 10: 6) If he was wrong then nothing is enough and we are all still lost in our trespasses and sins, because we would be following a Savior who simply didn’t know what he was talking about. What else may he have gotten wrong?
It does well to note that Jesus not only warned that he would be ashamed of us, if we were ashamed of him, but he also included any shame we might have about his words. That would include his word on creation.
“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9: 26)
The Bible sets church polity – the church does not set Bible truth to fit its polity.
The let’s be positive and prophesy softly proponents: An old teacher once proclaimed that true prophecy and good preaching did not come from God if it was not completely positive and very gentle. We can only wonder if he ever read the bible, but even if we could mitigate and say that gentle loving approaches are always the best first approach, the predictions of last days things clearly show that God’s dispensation will be radically changed to meet the last days onslaught of unbridled evil in this world.
It is not hard to believe that some in the very last days will visit the two witnesses in Jerusalem and tell them they are false prophets because they are not loving, gentle or Christ like in their message and behavior. (Rev 11:1f)
Just how positive and gentle does this sound?
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (Rev 11: 3-6)
Can the Church win the war against evil if it marches off to the wrong battles?
This is not a day for infighting or wavering. Over 100,000 Christians are martyred around the world each year. In Nigeria over 50 churches have been destroyed or burnt to the ground. Church members are tortured and killed almost daily in Syria and Egypt. Same sex marriage proponents are resisting the will of the people in California (Prop- 8) and in Spain and France. Abortion is swelling around the globe and the world toll of murdered unborn humans is well over 150,000,000.
The end times are clearly upon us and anyone involved in a thirty year plan to bolster their portfolio is living in a fantasy. Is this the day to be fighting among ourselves? The threat is not from Pentecostal or Evangelical doctrines.
With each passing day the antichrist spirit grows. Are we aiding its growth with our rush to clamor at nothing like so many old hounds baying at the moon?
Is some of the Church ‘left behind’ in yesterday’s dispensation as God moves ever forward to the great Millennial Kingdom?
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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