Monthly Archives: May 2011
I found the following quote from Harold Senkbeil embedded in a blog post titled We Are Seasoned Do-It-Yourselfers by Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) and thought it noteworthy.
Our Heavenly Father attaches no strings to His love. His love for us doesn’t depend on our love for others. Our relationship with the Father was established long ago, in the body and blood of His Son. Jesus Christ erased all our sins and shouldered all our sorrows. Already now we have a solid relationship with our heavenly Father; there’s no need to fret about it. That relationship doesn’t depend on our love for Him, but on His love for us. It hinges on the Gospel of God, not the Law of God…Again, the Old Adam betrays us. Our sinful nature would much rather hear Law than Gospel. The sinful nature is a seasoned do-it-yourselfer. We’d rather know what we should do, yet God insists on telling us who we are. The best way to tell you what to do as a Christian is to tell you who you are in Christ. The sinful nature likes to think it can earn (and keep) God’s favor. Our Old Adam prefers to base security with God the Father on His Law rather than His Gospel.
What a fragrant balm to the soul, what sweet rest one finds in the Gospel. I compare the aforementioned quote to what I listened to yesterday, a podcast from Fighting for the Faith that featured a guest pastor from a megachurch in Texas named Robert Morris who spoke at NewSpring Church on May 15 in Anderson, SC, my hometown. If you listen to this ‘sermon‘, you find soon after 1:07, Morris stating that by your tithing, the curse on your finances is removed. What a confusion of Law and Gospel. My heart grieves for those swayed by such manipulative messages.
My personal take on the Harold Camping rapture fiasco is this: it was a tempest in a teapot. The question I ask is why in the world did this man get so much news coverage in light of all the far more substantive events that could be pontificated upon in the news media. He is a man that wore a ‘warning of judgement’ sandwich board writ large is all. The whole thing had the feel of a viral YouTube video with about as much substance.
That all being said, I do have an interest in eschatology, pop or otherwise, and have written on the subject before. What bothers me is that there seems only to be a difference in degree, not in kind, between the Campingites, and fellow travelers from history such as the Millerites, and some popular dispensationalists. Predictions have been made as to the time of the rapture, and said predictions have proven false. One player uses arcane numerology to precisely formulate dates and times and the other looks at current events in the middle east with the modern state of Israel being the metaphorical hourglass as to the season of the rapture. Both also seem to focus more, and I think inadvertently, on the event of the pre-tribulation rapture rather than the return of the Messiah.
Eschatology is mysterious. It is not laid out as clearly as some would like or think in the Biblical texts. That being as it is, eschatology is not my hill to die on, though I obviously have strong opinions and know I could be in error over said opinion. In light of the aforementioned, my desire, for what it is worth, would be for a post-millennial rendering of the end of days, but I do not think the Biblical witness nor the trajectory of history lends it broad acceptance. World War One laid post-millennial thought to rest for the most part.
On the other hand, I understand the desire to be removed from the world when the escalation of terror and tribulation starts. Who would not like to avoid such if possible? However, how terrible it would be to be wrong about this dispensational pre-tribulation rapture scenario of entitled avoidance and find oneself in the midst of tribulation. Here is where the faith of many might grow cold when erroneous expectations of extraction are not met. I also have severe issues with the dispensational division of the people of God into two groups, national Israel and the church. This division stands in sharp contrast to the clear NT teaching that we are all one in Christ, both believing Jew and believing Gentile. I could rattle on for hours on this model of eschatology, one to which I used to hold, but enough for now.
Of the other two models that reside under the umbrella of orthodoxy, historic pre-millennialism and amillenialism, I lean strongly towards the amillennial. I always lean towards the simple and clear and that is what the amil model provides for me, a simple eschatology. Christ is now ruling from the right hand of the Father. Things will get worse, the Gospel will go through out the world, saints will suffer – even unto death- for the faith as they have through out history, there will be a great apostasy along with great evangelicalism, and the Messiah will return, boldly and unexpectedly, defeating anti-Christ. The saints, living and dead, will meet Him in the air. The Great Judgement is rendered, creation is renewed and the redeemed will joyously dwell with the Messiah forever. That is what I believe, based on my best understanding of Biblical texts, on the summing up of all things.
“Dude, you really need to stop drinking out of lead cups!”