Monday, April 20, 2009

How does our eschatology effect our practice?

There are many beliefs out there concerning eschatology, or the doctrine of the end time events; this article I will try to look at how these different beliefs effect our Churches, and personal practices.

I believe in the pre-millenial, pre-tribulational view of the end time events. I believe that we are presently living in what is termed the "Church age", or dispensation. I believe that we are in between the 69th and 70th week of the vision that Daniel saw concerning the end times. At the end of this age I believe that all those who have trusted Christ as their personal Saviour will be caught away to "meet him in the air", or be raptured. This will be the time when the dead in Christ will be raised in corruptible, and we shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. Immediately after this takes place the tribulation will begin; and is a period of Gods wrath being poured out upon the Earth for 7 years. At this time there will be a great multitude come to know Christ due to the 144,000 redeemed out of each tribe of Israel, and the 2 witnesses that wield extraordinary power. As the wrath of God is being poured out on the Earth, there will be the marriage supper of the Lamb taking place in heaven. Once the days of this tribulation are fulfilled, the Lord himself will return bodily to the Earth, riding on a white horse with a sharp sword proceeding out of his mouth, and the armies (saints) of heaven following him. This is what is referred to as the battle of Armageddon, where the nations of the earth will be put down in defeat. The devil will at this time be bound up and cast into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. Christ will at this time rule the world from Jerusalem for these 1,000 years with a rod of iron, and his saints will reign with him as he delegates them authority. After the 1,000 years are expired, I believe that Satan will be released from the bottomless pit, and go out to deceive the nations, but will soon be destroyed. Then will come the Resurrection of the unjust, and the Great White throne judgement of God, where the lost will be judged, condemned, and cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity. The saved will then experience the New Heavens and New Earth, for all eternity with Christ. I know that there is a lot more to the end time events than this outline, but this is a basic overview of how I believe it will take place.

There are some who hold split-rapture, mid-tribulation, and post tribulation rapture views. There are also some who teach that there is no rapture at all. There are some who are post- millennial, and even a-millennial. I believe each of these views of eschatology have grave errors within them, and that the errors will make themselves manifest in some, or various ways in Churches, ministries, and personal lives. I cannot deal with all of the errors contained in the beliefs, but will try to see how they will effect our lives.

Those who hold to the split-rapture doctrine, will inevitably teach that there is a works salvation! Many will deny such a claim, but when you look at their teachings it is entwined within them so intricately so as not to be missed. If God were to punish one of his children with his wrath, it would make his word a lie, because we are not appointed to wrath. Furthermore they will say that those who are more faithful will be caught away first, and will not experience the tribulation, but those who are less faithful will have to be punished for their deeds; thus rendering the blood of Christ ineffective for the less faithful. When one is saved they receive the full atonement, and are seen as totally and completely righteous in the eyes of God, and placed on the same level as the most saintliest of all saints, in Christ. How can teachings such as this be said not to effect other doctrines, we can see so clearly how it effects soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and if we are off on that, the rest of what we believe makes no difference, because we are bound for hell!

The mid-tribulation view of the rapture is full of Biblicly irresolvable problems as well. Once again I will cite "we are not appointed unto wrath". Those who hold this point of view will certainly be effected by this doctrine as well. When one holds that we, as children of God will experience his wrath, if even for a period of time they are missing the very foundation of grace and redemption. They have no Biblical precedence for their doctrine either. When Noah was called into the ark; the flood came, he did not experience even a drop of the flood and judgement of God. Many more are the examples we could cite, but will forbear with that one. The mid- tribulation rapture leaves one with a certain fearful looking for of judgement, reserved for those false professors, who have known the truth and turned from it. Without any hope, a Church will inevitably not be as keen on reaching the lost as they should or could be, as we must have something better to offer than what the world, flesh and devil are already offering to them.

The view of the post-tribulational rapture carries with it the same foundational misunderstandings concerning the grace of God in redemption and salvation, as do the other views already discussed. This view also carries with it other absurdities concerning the visible return of the Lord for the millennium. This view, as best as I can tell does away with the time frame of the Judgement seat of Christ, and the Marriage supper of the Lamb, and puts them somewhere that I don't know where they can be found. The great absurdity though, is that this view teaches that Christ will come in the rapture on a cloud, and will immediately turn around on his white horse to the battle of Armageddon and the millennium. When one teaches these things, I have seen from personal experience that (all whom I have known to hold this view)they will become arrogant, and think that nobody else can have a clue about the Bible, due to their lack of agreement with them on this subject. This view will not only taint the doctrines of grace, but will also tend to add arrogancy to a life, ministry, and Church, which will never be conducive to spirituality.

Some out there hold to what is known of as a post-millennial view, or doctrine. This belief will present many problems for a person who holds all of the Bible to be literally true. This is a belief that Christ will return personally to the earth only after the 1,000 years of peace has taken place. Those who hold this view will typically not have a clear understanding of the true nature of mankind in his fallen state. The Bible teaches that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. In this sort of state of heart it will be utterly impossible for man to usher in any kind of peace to this world. We have seen numerous peace treaties throughout history, and have failed to see any of them bring lasting peace to even a region, nevertheless the entire world. To hold this view one must be lacking a foundational understanding of the nature of mankind, and this will inevitably make him less evangelistic, because he thinks all men are really pretty good. People with this doctrine will also be far less likely to hold the Bible as being literally true, and will think it to be more of an allegorical presentation of Gods will for mankind; to which I would strongly disagree.

There are also some who hold to an A Millennial doctrine; this is a teaching that says there will be no millennial reign of Christ. I do not know of very many who hold this view, and I could not say that they believe the Bible in whole or part. I would recommend any Bible believer to separate themselves from such a person and have no fellowship with them. To such a person who has given themselves over to such utter nonsense I would simply say "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like unto him".

I believe upon clear examination of scripture in it's entirety; using proper study methods of comparing scripture to scripture, one will come out with the clear conclusion of the pre- tribulational rapture, and the pre-millennial return of Christ. These have been the standard of major theological intellects, and simple Christians who desire a sincere relationship with the Lord for many years. I believe both of them have scriptural precedence, and tie in with the overall plan of God. They both will help us personally with our responsibility towards God and our fellow man, and will also help the Churches to stay on track in these last days we are living in. Remember, Jesus is coming soon; so be diligent in all that you do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Issues at hand

This is the first in what will likely turn into a series of articles, in which I would like to deal with some of the issues and practices we are seeing in our day within our Churches, and the implications of them. Today I would like to start with the King James Bible. We have seen much discussion, and debate concerning the use of the AV; some of which is to the extreme, but the issue still needs to be dealt with. So what are we to use? Are we to do as some and preach from the AV and study from others? Is the AV just our preference? Do we recommend our Church members to use what they want? All these are questions many people today are having; due to the fact that they were never taught the importance of the Scriptures. We must not be wishy washy on this subject, or any other for that matter; I may not agree with what somebody does, but if they can do it with conviction and clear conscience I can hold somewhat of a respect for them. We know that not all versions can be right, or the same ( as some will say) things that are different are not the same, remember. This article could never deal with all the truths and issues that arise out of the Textual issue, but I would just like to attempt to illicit some discussion on the subject. As I have said I believe that the issue goes to the extreme, when you go as far as some to claim double inspiration, or that the original texts can be corrected with the KJV. I will not give much time to these, as they are on the fringe of the issue. What are we to use is a good question from somebody; I will always answer with straight face and clear conscience that we are to stick with the KJV, due to it being the Inspired, Infallible, Inerrant, all sufficient, Plenary, Pure, Preserved word of God for the English speaking people of the world. Why would we ever recommend anything less than this?! Whether you agree with the KJV or not,these items should be of utmost importance to you. If we are to recommend the KJV for others to use it stands to reason that we would use what we recommend. I know of some who will use the KJV as their Bible to preach and teach from, but in private will use another version. This practice is very dangerous, as what you read from another version will stick with you after you have read it. This is a very deceptive form of hypocrisy, and I believe when the vail is removed we would find that these people were really wolves in sheeps clothing, and they did not with clear conscience believe in the KJV. I use the AV due to my personal study of the matter. I do not believe any other modern version has the proper foundation in the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament, and the Textus Receptus for the New Testament; and the ones that claim to use these, have a less than desirable, modern form of the language, which is filled with slang,and not proper speech. When we look at these other modern versions we will see that they use very perverted texts, and therefore they are corrupt to the core. When we review the committees that made these versions we will find all kinds of Heretics and perverts within these committees. I do understand that King James was not an Independent Fundamental Baptist also, but I do believe that he had enough of a foundation in the Gospel to get others saved. He may not have been what we would call Orthodox, but he did have a genuine good intention in what he authorized. He made in his edict of instruction for the translators not to add any of their own flavor to what was said, but to simply translate where needed, and stick to the former translations where possible. I believe that the KJV has proven itself true over the years, and therefore I can say that it is not just my preference, but is the Absolute Complete Word of God for the English speaking world. I have found that people who hold the KJV as a preference, usually are unwilling to take a stand on much of anything else, except when it comes to standards; then they will take up arms to defend their lack of standards! I find the implications of using other versions, to tend towards less standards of righteousness within the personal life, and within the congregation, typically women in pants, men in shorts, CCM, etc. I further find that those who use other versions will tend to have less of an orthodox view concerning Soteriology, Eccliesiology, and Eschatology, all of which are very vital points of doctrine. This is not to say that all who stand for the KJV will be more conservative, and orthodox, but it is far more likely. Look well to what you see around you, and I believe that you will find these things to be true, so if we are to stay with the "Old Paths" we would be well advised to stay with the Old Book (1611).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Point of salvation

I understand that there are many different opinions out there concerning the salvation of a soul, we can be sure that not all of them are right. I also understand that within our own ranks there are probably different opinions concerning it as well. One who is a Calvinist would be more likely to say that somebody can not get saved until God gets good and ready, to which I could agree to some degree, for without God drawing somebody they cannot come to Christ. But a Calvinist will also say that unless they hold out they never really got saved to begin with; thus teaching in all effect that the salvation of a soul is a process and not instantaneous. Some will say that salvation takes place when the person prays the "Sinners prayer" ( where did that come from anyway?) thus removing repentance and faith, if all one has to do is repeat the magical words. One may also say that until one makes a full repentance, and is willing to change their entire life they are not saved, thus adding, in all sincerity works if we must make the change. Some will even yet say that when one claims to believe in Christ they are saved, thus removing the draw of God, repentance, or even calling on the name of the Lord. As I have said not all of these are right, certainly though they all have a facet of the truth within them. Which one do we believe and teach? This is the most important subject concerning any man in this world, lost or saved, religious or secular, so who is right. I believe that the salvation of the soul takes place instantly, when God draws a sinner to himself (typically through preaching, witnessing, etc but not exclusively) and they are willing for God to make a new creature out of them, and by faith call on him in prayer confessing their sins before Almighty God, and ask Jesus the risen Saviour into their heart to forgive them of their sins and save their soul. I do not believe that the exact words are what is important, so long as they are calling on Jesus as their risen Saviour by faith, and ask him to save them. There are some who believe the words must be exact, but I do not.So I thus believe that salvation is obtained by the lost soul when they place their faith in him, and cry out for salvation. Thus making prayer the vehicle of their faith to Godward. (This article is written with the common understanding that we all agree that salvation is by grace through faith, plus nothing minus nothing.)
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