Friday, January 31, 2020

Is the Bible Project a Gateway to Mormonism?

A Bible Project Discussion: Is the Bible Project a Gateway to LDS Theology?

Too busy to read? Listen to the  10-minute audio here.

Q. Is the Bible Project LDS? A: Absolutely not.

Q. Is the Bible Project a gateway to LDS theology? A: Absolutely yes.

Here are just a few reasons from a long list explaining why we say yes.

Gateway # 1. A common view on agency in the “divine council.”  Most folks are aware that Mormons focus on providing bodies for spirit babies sired by their non-orthodox father god Elohim and one of his many wives. These babies then await their respective opportunities to experience free agency in a human body on earth. This doctrine of absolute free agency[1] is the cornerstone of LDS theology and was the supposed source of contention between Jesus and his supposed brother Lucifer (Jesus being the LDS advocate of free agency.) While that scenario by itself should be enough to put off any casual observer of LDS doctrine, LDS roots run far more deeply into errors that often go unnoticed by evangelicals.

We have just cause to be chagrined as we compare the LDS “divine council” with the BP “divine council.”  Both are hosted by a less than all-powerful elohim who remands his decision-making authority to his team of fellow elohim, thus diminishing the sovereignty of our true Yahweh. Both histories argue that a council convened and then divided over the issue of absolute free agency, and both share the same commitment to this doctrine. Both the LDS and the Bible Project fabricated their views and then sought to impose them on obscure scriptures which make no such contentions.

As we dig even deeper, we notice other common ground between Mormons and Gnostics which spills over into our discussion. Mormonism (thanks, as much to Brigham Young as to Joseph Smith), is a variant gnostic expression of a pagan worldview that was progressively embedded into a pseudo Christian worldview. Those views are significant. Far from being simplistic, both pagans and Gnostics had articulate systems, which are now rapidly re-emerging in our postmodern, ephemeral age. Mormonism is well postured for postmodernism. All three false systems (LDS, paganism and Gnosticism) see an eternal, self-originating, self-perpetuating initial creation which functions on inherent laws. In Young’s own words in the Journal of Discourses, “matter is eternal.”[2] Their differences are unified by their mutual commitment to absolute free agency and are separated only by their theodicies or explanations for evil. It should occur that, unlike biblical Christianity, the Bible tells us that the mystery of iniquity is not static, it is in flux, and it is melding (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Here’s the wrap: We have three world views under consideration, pagan ancient near east religion (ANR), the Bible Project, and Mormonism. In two worldviews, ANR and the Bible Project, heaven and earth were one entity that was subsequently divided, although their theodicies certainly vary[3].

  • In all three worldviews, (ANR, LDS, and BP) divine councils were in play. 
  • In all three, divine councils are made up of “gods” or divine beings. 
  • In all three, absolute free agency is in play. None of these fabrications can be substantiated in the Bible. All require extra-biblical sourcing.

Incidentally, these views are not entirely alien from postmodern theoretical physics in at least one respect.

We are coming full circle. Just as pagan religion accommodates the idea of a single, self-originating, universal point of origin in one’s “theory of everything,” so do postmodern scientists who are even now beginning to allow for the existence of a spiritual realm in spite of protests from the vestigial materialistic scientists of the last century.

The Bible Project is blending and blurring these historically separate and unique worldviews which originate from an imagined divine council. As our engagement in spiritual warfare expands, we can anticipate an even greater assault from Hollywood and other forces that would blur the lines of spirituality and try to connect us with the demon world. It is this very fact that requires us to be crystal clear about our starting points. We must be relentlessly definitive regarding our stand on the supposed divine council or our warfare will be neutralized.

Gateway # 2. Will the real elohim please stand up? So, where would the views of the LDS and the Bible Project (BP) best interface? Is there a gateway? We must look at the first principles of Mormonism. In the LDS world, their Elohim is one of many such gods. He is simply the LDS father-god who pertains to our world. Once a mere created man, he evolved or progressed to his present position as creator and maintainer of our universe, a privilege reserved for gods only. In the BP world, there are also many “divine elohim.” In their words, our Elohim is unique from the other subordinate gods in that He created them.

It is important for the Bible believer to understand that heaven and earth were created uniquely and were not one entity, or even overlapping entities, as the Bible Project insists. Further, they will not be reunited back into one entity, though they will be recreated.

But here is the critical point. The BP is a gateway to Mormonism in this respect. Both groups teach (without biblical justification, the existence of many divine elohim with their own Elohim being unique. This parallel teaching narrows the gap between our disparate views.

Gateway # 3.  Reproduction versus creation. LDS theology logically has not done well explaining the origin of their original god. Something, somewhere, originated and then learned how to create and reproduce. Their immediate Elohim is the result of such reproduction. He’s just ahead of us in the line of exaltation. But, who is his father and the father of his father, and so on? Why would Mormons not worship the ultimate Creator?  In contrast to the LDS, so far as we can determine, the BP does teach the eternal existence of our creator God. But here’s a question this author has yet to see the BP address:

While the Bible declares (Matthew 22:30) that neither angels nor resurrected believers marry that does not dismiss the issue whether the BP gods can reproduce, and if they can do so with humans, as the BP claims in its treatment of the Nephilim. We know that the sons of God cohabited with the daughters of men (Genesis 6) and that is all that we know. We do not know who these sons are.  We have no biblical authority to open speculative doors and begin declaring biblical teachings and history which simply are not there. Were these nephilim demonic hybrids, and were they capable or incapable of reproduction? Be careful, now! The Bible does not go there, and neither should we. According to the BP, these hybrid Nephilim were also divine elohim (albeit rebellious ones). This paints the whole pagan discussion of gods cohabiting with men in a different light and opens the door for some serious intrusion of pagan mythology into biblical theology. As tantalizing as that is it opens a Pandora’s box:

When humans reproduce physically, we are also the products of God’s immediate creation (Psalm 139). God created us uniquely as mankind and individually as persons, regardless of our creationist versus traducianist persuasions[4]. In any case, we cannot separate the issue of reproduction from the issue of creation. God’s creatures are certainly creative, but none are creators. So, exactly, who is doing the reproduction in the BP world? Can those BP elohim (apart from Yahweh) create new, everlasting divine beings through reproduction? Neither pagans nor Gnostics would contest this. This is merely the first of many gaps in BP teaching which opens the floodgates to paganism.

We only raise this point to underscore our contention. The bizarre teachings of the BP are narrowing the gap between biblical considerations and pagan, as well as the quasi pagan LDS tenets. They are opening dangerous options and closing the gap between biblical Christianity and paganism.

Gateway #4. The LDS and the BP views with respect to God. Clearly, Mormonism is polytheistic. Clearly, the Bible Project is trinitarian, at least to date. However, the lines are being blurred when it comes to the question of what constitutes a person of the godhead. In all fairness we have every right to say that the BP has not fully matured its views and pictures the trinity in a manner far removed from orthodox explanations. We are seeing an emergent view surfacing which intimates that the persons of the godhood (Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in particular) are the personalized attributes of God – a discussion that goes far beyond this treatment but is well documented in their videos and our video reviews. The BP treatment of the godhood is far more palpable and far less offensive to the Mormon mind than anything which has been expressed inside orthodox Christianity. Those who wish to investigate this further are urged to watch our Bible Project God video overview here:

Conclusion. The Bible Project is a gateway to LDS heresy. Its divine council parallels the Mormon council in that it features absolute free agency as its cornerstone and portrays a God who remands (rather than relegates) authority to his created beings. It allows for a panoply of gods who can and do cohabit with men in a fashion not unlike pagan mythology. While not LDS, it blurs the essence of the personhood of respective members of the trinity.

For our associated Bible Project expose's visit Jim at

[1]  Absolute free agency is not identical with the so-called Calvinist/Arminian debate over free will. It implies that God has surrendered His sovereign authority over his creatures and is working with them through whatever means to regain it. This is what often separates dominionism from typical millennial theology.
[2] Keep in mind that if matter is eternal it is God. What we call the attributes of God subsequently flow from the creation and ultimately are personified as God. Some Mormons have gone to great ends to obfuscate Young’s views on this matter. The Bible Project views on the personalization of attributes is terrifyingly close to the LDS paradigm.
[3] A theodicy is an explanation for the existence of evil. In most false religion, sin, when and if acknowledged at all, is a subset of the discussion of evil. As an aside, Bible Project observers will notice that its vocabulary stresses evil heavily while treating sin much in the same way as false systems do. Sin is mentioned in BP videos, but only in a minuscule way in contrast with its treatment of evil.
[4] Did God create us and place us all in Adam or does He place our spirits in us at conception, or when we take our first breath? This teacher holds to the first. Mormons and even many evangelicals hold to the third view. By adopting the third view, many absolve themselves from the moral issue associated with abortion on demand.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Bible Project Video Review ELOHIM

Bible Project Video Review - ELOHIM

By confusing definitions, the BP claims “Elohim refers to any spiritual being in the heavenly realm.”  (See minute 1:00) It then manages to create a whole new class of beings who are not God, but yet they are gods in the sense that they are divine. The BP insists that when the Bible says there is no other Elohim besides Yahweh it simply means that “no other spiritual being compares to him because only He is the ruler and creator of all things.” (1:55).

 ~Panentheism and the Reconciliation of Unity and Diversity

In the great contest between God and Satan we sometimes fail to notice how fastidiously Satan works to withstand God at every point. Every aspect of God’s character, plan, and program has come under Satan’s counterfeited system of misinformation. Nothing has been left to chance. Na├»ve believers who prefer to view life only though their myopic lenses, (“If it doesn’t apply to me today I’m not interested,”) miss out on many of the riches of God’s wisdom as His program plays out in our times.

Consider the manifestation of God Himself in contrast to world religion. We worship one God who is manifest in three fully distinct persons who remain singularly equal in substance and in all aspects. Because God is truth and all truth emanates from Him we are able to understand one of the deepest mysteries which philosophers, scientists, and religionists have pondered, and yet failed to resolve. In every day terms, it has to do with the reconciliation of singularity versus plurality or unity versus diversity. God in three persons perfectly represents and satisfies this ancient and ongoing philosophic conundrum - How can unity and diversity coexist or be reconciled?

This struggle, for example, is at the basis of all systems political and otherwise. It is obvious in the great contest of communism versus capitalism. Who will dominate? the state (group) or the individual? In mankind’s effort to reconcile these polars, those who have looked to socialism as a palpable compromise have been rudely disappointed. Socialistic praxis has never been able to reconcile these polars. Its expressions  most always lean synthetically toward the left. Libertarianism, conversely, simply leans more towards the rights of the individual. And the tedious beat goes on. While it goes well beyond the scope of this short article, this same struggle between unity and diversity may be observed in the various (and mutually exclusive) cosmological theories or theoretical physics of our day.

More importantly, we see the unity/diversity struggle represented in world religious systems. We see in Islam’s Allah, unity represented with no room for diversity. Alternately, we see in polytheism (the worship of many gods) diversity represented without unity. Pantheists have long tried to reconcile the polars by declaring that god is all and all is god. Proof that pantheism has failed in reconciling the issue of unity and diversity is observed in the longstanding struggles between both pantheistic and polytheistic factions in world religions.

This brings us to the popular revival of panentheism, the system which best serves Satan and his counterfeit theology. Though panentheism rose very early in Babylonian/Egyptian times, it has never gained the respect it is beginning to enjoy. What is panentheism? Like primitive pantheism, it teaches that we are all god and that god is all. However, in its effort to resolve the struggle between unity and diversity, it goes one step further.

On the one hand we may properly represent traditional pantheism as a large, all encompassing circle (like the gnostic pleroma or fullness) and suggest that everything within that circle, be it heaven and earth, material or immaterial, spirits, man, angels, and whomever. Panentheism, on the other hand, goes this additional step further. It suggests that there is an aura of sorts permeating, encompassing, and extending slightly beyond this circle (or pleroma), thus the term pan-en-theism. Thus, it provides the all encompassing, unifying essence that naked pantheism lacked. This unifying aura supposedly satisfies, in the mind of the philosophic religionists, the struggle between unity and diversity. The Bible believer knows better. But where does this all fit?

First, the Bible believer understands that the mystery of iniquity is best represented in panentheism. It expresses the satanic mantra to a T or a tittle: It tells us that we are all diverse gods, we all constitute the whole, and yet there is that encompassing universal force which unifies us all. This doctrine of a unifying force (which permeates most false religion) is taking on more definition, virtually, on a daily basis as world religion converges in a homogeneous expression. The expressed "values" of world religions are sounding more and more like one universal expression. More importantly, panentheism will ultimately manifest itself even more tangibly, in a personality, specifically, in the coming man of sin, the second person, as it were, of the satanic trinity. In short, the panentheistic paradigm provides the perfect backdrop for uniting the world while offering the illusion of diversity through the unveiling of antichrist.

Secondly, the Bible believer sees right through this imagined counterfeit system. He knows that the issue of unity and diversity is resolved in the person of the triune God, who alone satisfies this struggle. Moreover he understands that Jesus Christ is the great unifier of heaven and earth, the creator of all things therein, and the preeminent vitalistic force of the creation. In the words of the apostle Paul,

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16,17.

Paul further asserts in verse Colossians 1:19 and 20: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Make no mistake, this issue of reconciling heaven and earth, unity and diversity, extends to our very souls. Namely, this reconciliation extends to the issue of our willful sin and the righteousness of a Holy God. Jesus Christ is not merely the theological answer to a world gone awry in the labyrinths of philosophy and theology, He is the personal answer to your soul’s longing, your need for true worship and fellowship, and your personal cleansing. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus Christ became the true meeting point between heaven and earth. With the apostle Paul, we admonish you, to become reconciled to God through the person of Jesus Christ, today!

Who needs panentheism when we can worship and serve the Pancreator today!

Permission to copy and distribute freely granted.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fish or Fishy? How to Recognize a False Teacher

(This is reposted with modifications.)

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  - Genesis 3:1-5

Whether intentional or unintentional, the core message of all false teachers can be associated with Satan's grand ecumenical scheme to unite heaven and earth under his domain. All suggest we can ascend or grow through self-improvement, all claim to embrace a higher knowledge, and all promote a counterfeit system.

As to his methods, from the very day when Eve encountered Satan, his appeal has been the same. "Hath God said?" "Ye shall not surely die." Ever since, Satan's ongoing attack has always been against the plain and simple statements of God's Word, the Bible.  As he did with Eve, he continues to appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).

The following 20 traits are very common among false teachers. Not all movements share all traits, but all share some. (Bible references are linked.)

1. The simple doctrine of Biblical inspiration is rejected or altered. 2 Tim. 3:16

2. Additional “inspired books” are placed alongside the Bible. Alternately, some, (like Adventists), claim that their writings represent “infallible interpretation” of the Bible. They are adding to God’s Word. Rev. 22:1819

3. False teachers often claim a special calling. Leaders often include claims of “apostolic commissioning” or similar direct commands from God to start new groups. Without exception, all such groups claim this authority in order to preach another gospel. Galatians 1:8-9.

4. False religionist groups commonly claim special knowledge. False teachers often claim they have the truth that has been suppressed by apostate Christianity. (It is important for false teachers to “set themselves apart” from other religions.) 1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Peter 1:20

5. False movements always embrace a false basis of salvation. Human works always supplement or replace the work of Christ among false teachers. Gal 1:6-9Heb. 2:3,4

6. False teachers always revise the doctrine of redemption. The Blood atonement is either rejected, nullified, or applied to Adam’s sin only. Heb. 9:14

7. False religions deny or weaken the biblical doctrine of sin. Sin is denied, viewed as weakness, lack of education, etc. The doctrine of sin is always weakened by one means or another. Rom. 3:236:23

8. Most false religions share a misunderstanding of retribution. False teachers generally reject hell, eternal punishment, and the conscious state of the dead. Luke. 16:23,24

9. False teachers commonly misunderstand the resurrection of Christ. It is either denied completely or physical resurrection is denied. John. 20:24-29

10. A majority of false groups reject the Triunity of God. This includes the doctrines of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Heb 1:8,Acts. 5:4Mat. 28:19,20. Keep in mind that the non Trinitarian Jesus-Only groups thrive right inside Christian circles!

11. Allegorical Bible interpretation will most always be used to deny literal truth. Sometimes false teachers do this while claiming they are literal interpreters of the Bible. For example, many groups (such as LDS) say they are spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ took God’s Word literally and affirmed that not a single word would pass away. Mat. 5:18John 10:35Luke. 21:32

12. All false teachers are hopelessly inconsistent. False systems must contain a mixture of doctrines that contradict each other. Isa. 8:20. Once truth is abandoned in any area there must be fragmentation of one’s belief system. It is part of the process of truth decay.

13. False groups never offer assurance of one’s salvation. False systems manipulate persons by keeping them in fear of eternal loss. John. 3:361 John 5:11-13.

14. Messianic leadership is popular among false religionists. Many false teachers have their own messiahs or “divinely chosen” leaders. Luke. 21:8 Virtually all false groups began with charismatic, driven leaders. They are man centered rather than Bible centered. Remove the leader (or the dead leader’s teachings) and the group disappears.

15. Organizational loyalty is commonly demanded. Many falsely claim to be Christ’s church on earth. Enslavement to a person or organization is often demanded. Col. 2:20-23

16. Love and acceptance are given conditionally. Acceptance is based upon performance and quickly withdrawn upon departure from group. 1 John 2:19

17. Financial participation is usually required. It is often required as part of the “salvation process” or placed as a necessary means on the path to enlightenment. Rom. 4:6-8

18. Groups are often elevated through denouncing others. They often see all others as apostate. False teachers commonly blacklist those who don’t agree and forbid group contact with any challengers. Tit 1:12

19. False religions commonly redefine generally accepted Christian terms. False leaders do this in order to hide the true nature of their teaching. This has been especially true since Vatican II as false teachers everywhere have put on a friendlier face. 1 Tim 6:3Rom. 16:17-182 Tim. 2:14

20. Most false systems have links to ancient heresies. Heresies such as Gnosticism and Jewish legalism are commonly observed in cults, and it is not uncommon to encounter racism in general and antisemitism in particular (Remember, a large percentage assume they are the inheritors of Israel’s promises in one way or another.) 1 Tim. 6:202 Tim. 3:13

Are we prepared to protect your family, loved ones and brothers and sisters in Christ from false teachers?

Permission to reproduce is freely granted.

Why Your Prophetic Position Matters

Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
Psalm 145:13

All wrong thinking is wrong thinking about God. All wrong thinking leads to wrong behavior.  All wrong behavior leads to wrong consequences.

The entire Word of God is bound up in one theme, the plan and program of God through His Son Jesus Christ, Luke 24:44-48. This plan is enmeshed in the entire fabric of God’s Word from Genesis through Revelation.  It is a literal plan. It is an obvious plan, it is a profound plan. Most importantly, it is a plan designed from beginning to end to extol the glories of Jesus Christ. It has been said that 2/3 of the scriptures are essentially prophecy, prophecy which is ultimately about Jesus Christ.

Three steps open the prophetic Word to us:

First, we must accept the scriptures as the inspired Word of God. That is, we must be committed to the idea that every word is equally inspired. It is not enough to believe in the popular doctrine of inerrancy. Inerrancy does not commit to the inspiration of the words, only the concepts behind the words. There is no negotiation on this point. To hold to anything less is to hold to heresy.

Secondly, we must interpret the scriptures literally, following simple common sense rules, when the Bible uses symbolism to illustrate a literal truth. The evidence for this is in the examples that the apostles gave us for their own literal interpretation. Notice the argument of singular versus literal in Galatians 3:16 over the discussion of seed.

Thirdly, the scriptures are thematic. They have an underlying theme. We interpret the scriptures through the Messiah. (Luke 24:44-48.) We admit our bias and admit our inability to place the proper value on literal passages. There will always be a need to agree to disagree on particulars because we are human.  However, when we take literally God’s stated plan for Messiah as the lens through we view the Bible and we always interpret this book in terms of Jesus Christ and His stated objectives (as outlined in the Old Testament and affirmed and expanded in the New Testament) we always come out agreeing on the basic prophetic infrastructure of the Word of God. [In a technical sense, we say that we interpret the Bible literally through a Christological grid.]  In other words, we impose a predisposition on our literal interpretation. We interpret according to a theme, One Theme. We assume, in advance, that we will find Jesus Christ everywhere in this book and that all the truth revealed about Him will fit into one beautiful picture.

What premillennialism represents. Premillennialism is simply an acknowledgement that God’s program for Messiah has been outlined in two phases. First, Messiah will bring justice to all the earth through the Jewish people and the restoration of Israel. Secondly, Messiah will also be a light to the nations (the Gentiles) and this global witness to the nations will occur before justice is brought to all the earth (Isaiah, chapters 40-49.) While the New Testament apostles grasped and expanded this truth in Acts (cf. chapters 13 and 15), it was the apostle Paul who received special revelation from the Lord regarding the details of this mystery age (Gal 1:12.)

These are the ABC’s of premillennialism which should not even be so labeled. It should simply be labeled Messiahism because is a simple basic commitment to the singular program of Messiah which is worked out in two phases, exactly as specified by the covenants.

We have already conceded that, due to the weakness of human flesh, we must all agree to disagree with a large dose of humility on numerous matters. That is not the Bible’s weakness, it is ours. The question on the floor is this. Where do we draw the line in agreeing and disagreeing? Clearly, we are admonished in the Word of God to both speak and defend sound doctrine (2 Tim 1:13, 1 Tim 6:3-5, and a host of others.) At the same time, we are not to “strive about words to no profit (2 Tim 2:14.) The modern mentality is to assume that sound doctrine relates to the basics of salvation and that Bible prophecy is pretty much like a set of Legos with which we may all play to our content or ignore at our pleasure. Yet, we discover the opposite in the Thessalonians epistles that were written specifically to correct behavioral problems related to an incorrect prophetic position. Notice how outspoken Christ and Paul both were in their warnings that we should let no man deceive us regarding prophetic matters (typically, Mark 13:5,6; 2 Thessalonians 2:3.)

Here is why we cannot agree to disagree on premillennialism. 

1. To accept any other position than premillennialism is to reject the literal interpretation of the Word of God.  Reformed theology with all its varieties and shades of millennial positions is evidence of exactly what happens when men depart from a simple literal system of interpretation.

  1. When we reject literalism in favor of any mix of allegorical interpretation Pandora’s box is opened and a flood of wild and fancy prophetic schemes inevitably follow.  The millennial cults of the 19th Century and the apocalyptic cults (such as the Weavers and Davidic Branch cults) are simple illustrations of this. 
  2. When literalism is mixed with the leaven of allegory in prophecy it must, of necessity, leech into the other major doctrinal disciplines as well. Augustine, who reintroduced allegory back into the church intentionally limited it to eschatology. It flowed instantaneously into soteriology, ecclesiology, and all the other “ologies.”

2. To accept any other position than premillennialism is to inevitably corrupt the doctrine of the grace of Christ.  It is to sentence yourself and your children to unending doctrinal confusion.  That leads, of course, to no doctrinal stand at all.  Remember, there is no such thing as a partial Premillennialist! When one departs from this truth, he immediately blurs all distinctions between

  • the church and Israel;
  • salvation and discipleship;
  • the church and the kingdom;
  • the apostolic message and Paul’s message;
  • law and grace.

What happens when we do this?  In varying cultures and at varying times we have reaped the horrific results of each of these departures. Perhaps, most sadly of all, is the bondage into which this system brings us, because once grace and law are mixed, in any percentage, grace is nullified and we begin to experience, in our lives the bondage and susceptibility to sin which the law imposes on us. Every single doctrinal system (bibliology, Christology, anthropology, hamartiology, ecclesiology, angelology, soteriology, and eschatology) is affected when premillennialism is abandoned.

3. The grace of God teaches us to look for and long for the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. This is to be a daily, ongoing anticipation that produces hope and purity in our experience (Titus 2:11-13, 1 John 3:3). NO OTHER POSITION produces this vibrant, daily, living hope, though, of course, there are folks in these other systems who long for the return of Christ.

And how will a typical Reformed teacher disagree with the above? He will claim that theirs is the truly unified system; He will claim that they have the historical property rights to the issue, they will claim that premillennialism is a simplistic position, and at the same time, he will claim that it is inconsistent and convoluted. There are answers to each of those claims and they deserve answers, but one will notice an underlying theme in most of those arguments. Every effort will be made to shift the discussion from the actual scriptures themselves to philosophical, rational, and historical arguments.

If I might be allowed to make one note regarding my personal convictions (a rational, historical argument!). It is my own conclusion that amillennialism is simply a step toward liberalism (Follow Canada’s evangelical history as an example.) Further, it has historically led to anti-Semitism at worst and the disenfranchisement of Israel at best. Consider the views of the late D. James Kennedy and the Knox Theological Seminary for a simple starter*. The great lovers and defenders of God’s people Israel have always been premillennialists.

Why can’t we agree to disagree? Because premillennialism is at the foundation of all that we believe and hold dear.  It is a core belief, not a preference. The system of interpretation which brings it to us is the system that brings us the free gospel of the grace of Christ and insists that that gospel not be perverted from within or without. Simply stated, there are only two kinds of churches, those committed to a consistently literal hermeneutic and those who are at the whims of every scholarly pastor and teacher to whom they submit.

Prophecy is not a playground. The Lord did not say, “Do not fudge on any other doctrinal truth I have given you, but you are free to disagree on Bible prophecy!” Interestingly, 2/3 of His book is prophetic in nature and many of its strongest most shocking warnings are directed toward those who would play with prophetic truth. To agree to disagree on premillennialism is tantamount to throwing our hands up in the air, giving up all hope of truly understanding and defending the scriptures.

*Kennedy is an example of a wonderful, godly man who rejected literal interpretation.

Have the Scriptures become Marginalized (Neutralized)  in Your Church?

Are the Scriptures Being Marginalized in Your Church?
The Bible's influence becomes marginalized in stages. The colored columns (left to right) document the gradual shift in preaching, curriculum, and overall emphasis which occurs in our churches. Marginalization usually begins innocently with elective type classes offered on weekdays and Sundays. This can then translate into a broader shift ending with the diminution of sound biblical exposition in the Sunday services. We tend to succumb to the need to keep our teaching practical, dynamic, and on target with our listeners' perceived needs - intimating that sound Bible exposition falls short of those desired traits.

Note: Electives have a legitimate practical appeal and are not necessarily wrong, but they must never compete with a strong emphasis on sound biblical exposition. The reader may notice that this same shift occurs in the curriculum of our Bible colleges and seminaries.

Is your church in the green zone?

Are You Ready for the Rapture?

FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

Simplifying the Rapture Discussion in Five Steps

The Pretribulation Rapture is being uniformly scuttled in church doctrinal statements everywhere. One’s position on the rapture is now considered “optional” and is certainly not a thing to be debated, or required in church doctrinal statements. These folks are throwing out more than one baby with the bathwater!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the rhetoric! Once we grasp the major issues surrounding the rapture, it’s easy to locate the scriptures which reveal this precious truth!

Ignore the nonsense!

If one simply “Googles in” the rapture discussion he risks becoming overwhelmed by the volume of material on the subject. One daunting article, for example, lists 250 reasons for the rapture (the majority of which are good)! Most articles, however, are highly charged, emotional arguments against this precious truth. Don’t be intimidated when you encounter these kinds of approaches:

1. The word rapture does not even occur in the Bible. To be raptured simply means to be “caught up.” While the English word does not appear in the Bible, the Greek word and idea certainly does and we get the doctrine from that very word “harpazo,” exactly as it is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Many wonderful doctrines don’t have English representations in our Bible. For example, the words trinity and millennium are not there. This argument is a ploy to distract folks from the biblical truth.

2. Historical arguments don’t work either. Supposedly, Darby (a founding father of Dispensationalism) listened to the fanciful vision of an 18 year old girl, and thus invented this doctrine. This attack is favored by the Church of Christ folks who never tire of repeating it. In reality, we don’t really care who did or did not have a vision. We do not care whether Darby did nor did not give an audience to this girl. One fact, remains, the rapture is clearly taught and easily recognized in the Bible and no one assumes it is true based on someone’s vision. If there is anything that would scare a true Dispensationalist off, it is the idea that his doctrine is based on anything other than the literal interpretation of God’s Word!

3. There are also fabricated arguments. Adventists favor this “straw man” tack. They consistently misrepresent what we mean and teach by the rapture. They insist that we teach a “secret rapture,” and then list a bunch of verses declaring that the Lord’s appearance will be visible by all. There is nothing secret about the rapture and Adventists know that rapture teachers do not embrace this silliness. Yet they persist. This is an openly deceitful ploy, and it rightfully challenges the
integrity of Adventism in other areas as well.

4. Then there are emotional arguments. The most significant is that folks cannot imagine Christ receiving an impure church unto Himself. She must go through the fires of the tribulation in order to purify her metaphorical robes, as it were. Such folks might as well teach purgatory. What about all the impure Christians who are already dead? And since when is the blood of Christ not sufficient to purify us? (Ephesians 5:25-27) Will the tribulation accomplish what the blood of Christ cannot? The raptured believer will face the Bema seat, but he will do so in a spotless robe! More to the point, the issue is not whether an argument satisfies us emotionally. If it is Bible truth it is Bible truth whether we like it or not. The Bible does not teach such purgative nonsense no matter how reasonable it seems to some.

Focus on the KEY passages.

Before we too become overwhelmed by all the nonsense, consider taking the time to read a few simple passages from the Word of God. Read them in their entirety. Read them in their simplicity. They are easily understood. John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Philippians 3:20-21.

1. John 14 explains the purpose of the rapture. Christ will personally return and bring us unto Himself and to His Father’s house. The whole purpose is so He can take us unto Himself. This is what makes the rapture so sweet!

2. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 explains the physical necessity for the rapture. This event was a
mystery. The resurrection was not a mystery (Job 19:26).The mystery was that Christians would be changed. Both dead and living believers will exchange their mortal remains and bodies for their resurrection bodies.

3. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 explains the mechanics of the rapture. We are not to be ignorant of these details. Those who are now with Christ will be brought with Him. We who are alive at the time will not precede them in this event. Their bodies will rise first, and we will join them as we are caught up (raptured) together in the clouds. Again, notice the purpose, so that we may “ever be with the Lord!” The Bible’s word for the coming of the Lord is the Greek word parousia which stresses His presence (the fact that He is coming physically) and we will enjoy that presence forever! Chapter 5 then continues on with the Day of the Lord which will follow.

4. Philippians 3:20 and 21 explains the timing of the rapture. We are to be looking (waiting with
full expectation) for this grand event during which our vile bodies will be transfigured and we
will go to the land of our citizenship! We will expand on this in the next step.

Put imminence in your arsenal!

The rapture is imminent and can happen at any time. The second coming of Christ cannot happen until specific prophetic events (Daniel’s seventieth week, for example) have occurred. Many view the rapture verses we have cited as relating to the second coming of Christ. They miss the simple doctrine of imminence.

1. We are waiting for the coming of Christ (1 Cor. 1:7, 8).

2. In 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 the Thessalonians were saved in order to wait for the return of Christ from heaven in order to be delivered from the “wrath to come.” This appearance out of heaven is clearly the rapture mentioned in 4:13-18 and it precedes the wrath to come mentioned in 5:3-9. For a very thorough treatment of these verses, see http://www.pre-trib org/data/pdf/Brindle-BiblicalEvidenceforth.pdf.

3. Notice 1 Corinthians 1:7 where even the Corinthian believers were eagerly “awaiting” the coming of Christ. Yet the same Paul, who commended the Corinthians for this, would never have done so if he knew all of Daniel’s 70th week had to occur first.

4. In Titus 2:11-13, it is grace which teaches us to be looking for the blessed hope and glorious
appearing of Christ.

5. 1 John 3:2,3 tells us that this hope for the return of Christ promotes self-purification.
Obviously, Bible teachers have delved far more deeply into these verses than space allows here, but
they remain good starting points for teaching the fact that our Lord could return at any moment!
This precludes the idea that Christ could return in the middle of the Day of the Lord or at the
end. In those cases, we would be watching for the Day of the Lord.

6. Paul does explain the conditions which will usher in the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Because he did this some say he assumed the Thessalonian believers were expected to watch for those conditions. On the contrary, Paul was simply explaining that the Day of the Lord had not yet come because those conditions had, obviously, not been met. Paul was protecting the Thessalonians from the idea that the rapture had come, he was assuring them that they would not be overtaken by this future day which will come as a thief in the night. You and I who see these conditions on the horizon are wise to have our spiritual houses in order. We are not foolish enough to predict when the rapture will occur, but neither are we ignorant how world events are rushing toward the end times.

Separate the two comings of Christ.

Christ does not come for His saints and return with His saints at the same time. These are separate events.

1. The fact that Christ would come with His saints is seen throughout both the Old and New Testaments (Dan. 7:13-14; Mat. 24:27-30; 1 Cor. 15:51-52).

2. The fact that Christ would first come for His saints was a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51). When Christ returns the second time, the signs preceding the event will be clearly seen, He will personally and physically return in great power and judgment, and all the earth will tremble at His coming. (Mat. 25:31, Rev. 19:11-16 and 15-21, Mat. 24:30, Acts 1:11, Rev. 1:7)

Separate God’s plan for the church from Israel.

1. The Lord Jesus Christ has an intricate plan for the world which He will ultimately complete in and through Israel. Scores of scripture passages in both the Old and New Testaments argue this point, and Romans 9, 10, and 11 give us a brief overview of this plan, past, present, and future.

2. The church age which occurs between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (See Daniel 9:24-27) was not
prophesied. Not only does the Bible clearly state that this age was a mystery, but it also states that Christ will work out His mission to reach the Gentile nations through His body, the church. That is, unlike ages past and future, the church in this age fulfills the unique role of being the body through which He carries out His work (Colossians 1:24-28). When Jesus Christ personally executes the events of the Day of the Lord as outlined in Revelation 4 and 5, the work of the church will have consummated. In fact, the four and twenty elders will have already been judged (as evidenced by their victors’ crowns in Revelation 4:4). They will personally witness the work of Christ in the judgment of the entire world, the protection and salvation of a remnant of Jews throughout that tribulation period, and the ultimate salvation of all Israel. Israel, not the church is once again in focus. There is not as much as a hint that the church, the body of Christ through whom He ministered in His physical absence, will have any part in these events. This article includes a brief summary of the discussion, designed especially to assure new believers who are being “tossed about with every wind of doctrine.” Students who are struggling with particular aspects of this discussion are invited to send us a note. We will happily connect them with the best resources we know of to help them along in their study of God’s Word. Are you ready for the rapture?

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