My Photo

Coram Deo Podcasts

Proven Formulas

Reel Faith

« Why I Don't Believe in the Bible... | Main | »

November 11, 2010




How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He is now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. Since Jesus must personally participate in the rapture, and since He can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends, the rapture therefore cannot take place before the end of the trib! Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who would be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel's posttrib resurrection!) If anyone wonders how long pretrib rapturism has been taught, he or she can Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 it was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Other Google articles throwing light on long-covered-up facts about the 180-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “X-Raying Margaret,” "Edward Irving is Unnerving," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," and “Deceiving and Being Deceived” – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” which is available at Armageddon Books online. Just my two cents’ worth.

Jeff Johnson

Hi Chris,
Your last couple of blogs have made me very uncomfortable, because you are encouraging me to make sure that my faith is honest, but if my faith is honest then I won't be ignorant of all the things that I am currently ignorant of, and if ignorance is bliss and if bliss is sort of like being in heaven then...well, don’t I want to be in heaven?

But seriously, I have no doubt that God’s Grace is greater than our own fallibility in how we each, as individuals, may have mistaken or perhaps even heretical misunderstandings of the Scriptures and how it relates to our lives. That said, I believe it should be the goal of every follower of Christ to preserve the integrity of the Scriptures so as to ensure their relevance to the world around us. By integrity, I don’t mean that we should declare every dotted “i” and crossed “t” in the Bible is correct, because that is clearly not the case. I do mean that when the “best” scholarship informs our understanding of Scripture (whether it be interpretation, understanding of the errors that have occurred in transmission or translation (Hebrew into Greek), etc.), then we should take that into account in an honest and open fashion. I find that many Christians (including myself from time to time) are nervous about wading into these potentially murky waters. However, if our faith is not honest, the very people that we are trying to point to Jesus will pick up on it often before we will. I know that asking these sorts of questions can be a potential mine field, it can get uncomfortable, and I would suggest it is the role of the pastor to help us deal with these questions honestly. I also firmly believe that our faith will be stronger and more relevant when it comes to sharing it with the rest of the world.

I will give a case and point of what I believe is an ongoing dishonest and intellectual catastrophe within (what I believe to be) a minor segment of the Church, but who sometimes sounds more like a vocal majority. Specifically, this is with regards to those with a fundamentalist interpretation of the Scriptures, and specifically with regards to the “debate” over the interpretation over Genesis 1. I would argue that most of us may not have a fundamentalist understanding of Scripture, but due to the ferocity of this debate many are still uncomfortable with at least some of the implications of a nonliteral interpretation of Genesis 1, and how those implications could inform our understanding of the rest of the Bible (e.g., if it isn’t “historically” true, then what do we need to cherry pick, and what other parts of the Bible fall by the wayside…of course, the answer is none, what will really need the cherry picking is our understanding of the intent of parts of the Bible). I believe that a prime example of biblical idolatry is that which is proclaimed by the young earth creationist movement, which slays intellectual curiousity and scientific reason with malicious and disingenuous propaganda regarding our origins, all in the name of Christ. My impression is that there is an anti-intellectual/anti-reason movement gaining fervor across the United States, and my fear and inclination is that some of its origin may stem from the impact that this movement has had on at least individual churches. One can imagine a variety of potential deleterious consequences of such a movement, if it does indeed exist.

The issue needs to be put to rest, so let it be clearly stated: humans did not just evolve from monkeys, we evolved from the very first primordial life forms that existed on the planet (with primates as our ancestors). Without going into great detail, to deny this supports invokes the logical fallacy that our chemical, physical, and biological understanding of the world (which we see and use in the technology/medicine/etc. that is all around us); all areas of investigation that fundamentally work in all regards as a process for understanding the world in which we live, suddenly come to a screeching halt when it comes to explaining the origins of our universe and of life on earth. When, in fact, volumes of independent lines of evidence do support evolution, and evolution very clearly unifies our chemical, physical, and biological scientific understanding of life in this world and the universe in which God has given us. Of course, it does nothing to give us a theological reason for our existence, it cannot nor need not do this.

I have seen on multiple occasions how an individual’s faith in Christ has been destroyed on this one issue alone once they realized the level of deceit that is undertaken to promote our 6 day origin story as historical (and scientific) fact. If our children our raised with a faith that is partially built upon subterfuge (of any kind, not just this issue), it is at risk of destruction or being reduced to irrelevance (to the world around us) once they encounter the intellectual enlightenment that comes especially during the college years. Raising our children honestly in God’s Word can spare them a lot of grief down the road, and maybe even their life.

Genesis 1 has zero scientific value, and we need to get over it. Our theological understanding of our origins by Genesis remains intact. I believe that if we are dishonest about the Scriptures God has given us, it will come at the Church’s peril. I am not willing to say that it will be alright or that this issue is in God’s hands, because it appears to me that, at least in the world I live in, He has left us with a lot of this responsibility (otherwise He need not have given us the Holy Spirit). I would implore the Body of Christ, as Chris suggests, to not idolize the Bible. Idols are statues, they are stagnant and they go nowhere and do nothing. The Bible is the Living Word of God who is larger than the box we try to fit squeeze Him into. In fact, the reality is that God will not go in that box even if our faith does. If Jesus Christ really died and rose again, then we do not need to fear an honest exploration outside of our boxes, because that is where the people who need to hear the Good News are waiting, and that is where the Community of Faith needs to live.

P.S. the creeds ARE wonderful, but they are also timely, pointed at a specific heresy. So, if baptism isn't in them it doesn't mean that they aren't important nor does it mean they are less important (although I would think they are less important) than what was covered in the creed. It just means they aren't covered in the creed.

"That's what makes the Bible more than just a book. That's what makes the Bible the living word of God. "

How can you write such a good article (although, I think the spot about the creeds was over stated) after just completing your article _I don't believe in the Bible_ where you state that the bible has errors?

I agreed with almost everything you wrote here, but yet in your last blog you seemed to be emphasizing the bible as a tool for "conversation" with God, yet after claiming the bible has errors, I'm not sure the bible can really speak for God at that point. How can we take this bible (without cherry-picking, or taking those points out that we disagree with) and know for sure that this is the word of God while still needing to negotiate the minefield of inaccuracies?

I agree, it IS ridiculous to see how some Christians are almost worshiping the bible (I just got back from working with Muslims, I've seen this kind of thing there too). But the answer is not to strip those Christians of their assurance of the word of God, rather it is to help them understand that this book is not holy in and of itself, rather it is holy because of what it describes and to whom it points.


Zack Skrip

The comments to this entry are closed.


Networked Blogs

Blog powered by Typepad