Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Premillennialism from the pulpit!!

I just got done listening to a sermon preached by my pastor, Philip De Courcy. He is a native of Belfast, Ireland who has been serving at our church for several years now. John and I really love him and support him.

He preached this message back in 2005 and you can listen to it, too, by going to this web page:
Sermons Online from Emmanuel Baptist Church’s Media Page

Look at the menu on the left and find the title of the series “The Day After Tomorrow.”
Then, you will see a list of all the messages from that series. The one I just listened to is
November 13, 2005
Taking Sides - Part 1
Revelation 20:1-6.
It is near the bottom.

I am going to continue on and listen to part 2 and 3. Maybe I will post a quote or two from those as I listen to them. This particular message that I am directing you to is great; I am so enthused about it! De Courcy explains Amillennialism, Post-millennialism and Pre-millennialism. He even uses the word 'Chiliasm'! He gives a good "fly-over" on the subject of the Millennium and the differing views.

Here are few quotes:

“This emerged as a viewpoint in the third, fourth and fifth century. The earliest proponent of this is Augustine. This was the predominant view of the Roman Catholic church in the dark ages and even as Protestantism emerged, most of the formers didn’t shed that perspective. So Calvin, Luther and Zwingly continued to embrace [it].”

"The OT promises were given to an earthly people: the seed of Abraham and the house of David and the Israelite people who lived within clearly defined borders that God had enunciated back in the book of Genesis. I believe that God will keep those promises and they cannot be fulfilled in the church - which is a spiritual entity made up of Jews and gentiles."

"My view … dispensational futuristic pretribulational premillennialism is the most consistent in applying the general hermeneutics that I use everywhere else in the Bible. I don’t need a special set of rules to interpret prophecy. I use the same rules that yield my doctrine of Christ, my doctrine of the HS, my doctrine of the church and my doctrine of last things."

"As I read even a passage like Romans 11, Paul says, “Has God cast away Israel?” Paul says no… Israel is in blindness until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. The deliverer will come out of Zion and then all Israel will be saved.
Bar one or two exceptions in a host of uses, the word Israel in the NT refers to - you’ll be surprised at this - Israel."

Why not give it a listen?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Most Pitiable?

16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Cor. 15)

I was thinking about the idea that much of Scripture is to be taken spiritually. For example, the millenial kingdom is not physical, but spiritual. I wonder what the apostle Paul would say about that? He stressed to the Corinthians that Christ was risen. Do you think he meant "risen spiritually"? This is what liberal theologians teach about the resurrection. They don't believe that Jesus came out of the grave physically. They say He is "risen in our hearts."
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2)

Interesting here how Jesus spoke of His ressurection. Was it spiritual? They thought He was talking about the physical temple. He was talking about His physical body. Was He talking about His Spirit? Is He to be a spiritual King? Is that not literal, that He is King? He was talking about His body, His flesh. His body was going to be physically and literally raised and released from literal death. He is also the physical and literal King of the Jews and will reign as the literal and physical King of a physical and literal Kingdom. Because this kingdom is not of this world, it will be full of righteousness. It will be glorious and unlike any kingdom we have ever seen ... and no, we are not most pitiable.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another Reasonable Blogger!

Bobby Grow is so delightful to read. He really has a lot of interesting things to say. He is very smart. Sometimes he really talks way over my head, but whenever I can understand what he is saying, I find his contributions very helpful, and I mean VERY HELPFUL.

If you want to see an example of his patient reasonableness, just take a look at this comment thread:
Bluecollar Blog on discipleship. I really respect the way he handled that discussion. Some of us would have been put-off by it and we may have even gotten a little huffy.

In general, when I read his comments, his tone just comes off as very matter-of-fact, confident, but open to the truth. He also sounds like a lot of fun to talk to. He doesn't seem to "take sides" as some of us do, but is willing to change his mind if his study of the Bible is causing such a change. I really respect that.

I don't think he is an antinomian. :~) I think Bobby is very REASONABLE!

What is Forgiveness?

"I give up the right to hurt you for hurting me." A friend of mine said this to me as a means to show forgiveness. He said it was a definition for forgiveness. I thought it was good. Letting go. Some people would describe forgiveness that way. Not holding something against someone. Very good.

What about this situation:
You have a friend who really wrongs you. You go to him and you make it clear to him how much he hurt you. He won't budge. He does not see that he has done anything wrong, or he won't admit it. Years pass. When you think of this friend, you wish you had been able to come to peace with him. You still have an ache in your heart when you think of him. He hurt you and his subsequent lack of sorrow over the break in the friendship is a pain. Besides all that, you miss him!! His lack of willingness to recognize his fault in the matter is a real head scratcher and left a scar on your heart. He didn't want to see you anymore after he hurt you and you are not friends any longer. He is out of your life. This lack of peace with him haunts you.

Counselors tell you that you are holding bitterness against this brother. You need to forgive him.

What does forgiveness mean in this context? If the brother comes to you (or even if you go to him) and he recognizes that some of the problem (at least) was his fault and he is sorry, then it is easy to get - you NEED to forgive, you WANT to forgive! But ... when you have a person who is not sorry and doesn't want peace with you, how is forgiveness even possible?

Is forgiveness a one-way street?

I can hear the heads nodding.

I am not so sure.

I think of forgiveness as being a transaction of sorts. The forgiv-ee has to recieve it from the forgiv-er, no? Is it a complete transaction when you say "I forgive him" ... and he thinks YOU were the one in the wrong? What if you walked up to him (as some have suggested is vital to forgiving) and told him you forgive him? This would not "relieve his heart," but would be an offense.

So is forgiveness a one-way street?

I once heard that the only thing one can do in a situation like this is be ready to forgive. You have to let go of your anger at the person for having wronged you. Then, when the opportunity comes, you will be ready to forgive, you will forgive him and the process wil be complete. You will have forgiven him. Some people would say that this is restoration, but that the initial "letting go" of your own bitterness was the actual forgiveness.

What do you think? What do you see in the Bible that can help define these things for us?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

What is Wrong with the Church?

I had this comment in my posts as a draft from a long time ago. I don't remember what post it was from, but I obviously thought a lot of it to save it as a post draft. It is some really good insight. I think Jim is right on!

Jim said...
... All this talk of false converts and false faith and spiritual defectors is not really healthy. This problem is largely due to the poor spiritual quality of many churches today, but should not be used to interpret the NT writings. The NT church did not simply consist of a preacher and a congregation meeting for one hour a week, but was a dynamic and life changing experience in which mutual fellowship, exhortation, and care were expressed by all the body one for another. At least, that was the expected norm. Anything else was considered inferior and Paul and James both addressed carnal attitudes in the believers lives. Sadly today, we do not experience the reality of that NT church life and therefore many members do not build their faith but remain spiritual babes tossed to and fro by every wind of debate and heresy in the church. That is the reason for all this second guessing and great introspection regarding saving faith.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

Thank you to my friends who wished me a happy Mother's Day.
- and to the friend that didn't wish me a happy Mother's Day because Mother's Day was in March in his country - (although I don't know why that would prevent him from wishing me a happy Mother's Day in May, seeing as how it was Mother's Day to me, an American. Oh well.)

I had a really great Mother's Day!
John took the baby to the store and bought me some red roses first thing in the morning. Just taking the baby to the store with him was thoughtful. I got out of bed and had my morning coffee with my lap all to myself - which was kind of nice for a change. Then, he made French Toast for breakfast. This was really a treat.

The kids had made me things at school - book-type presents where they wrote things about me. These kinds of projects are always delightful to read. Daddy also helped them put together a little wooden stool for me.

We went to church and heard a message - about mothers - from our missionary to Quebec City, Tim Vermilyea. It was really neat. He went through biblical descriptions of motherhood. One of them he cited was the apostle Paul!

But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. (1 Thess. 2:7)

We came home and I played catch with the baseball and my 11 year old son. I then put on roller-blades for the second time in my life (I promised my 9 year old daughter that I would learn how to roller-blade this summer). This probably provided much humorous entertainment for the surrounding neighbors. What a sight it must be to see me on roller blades! Scary.

Then, we "ordered out" for Chinese food. Or - as Matthew would say: we had Chinese "take-away." John picked it up and we all ate peacefully around the table.

It was a wonderful day ... the best Mother's Day I have ever had!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

2 Peter 3:9 Per Antonio's blog

A Good Post.

... on a verse that got a lot discussion here on my blog over the last few weeks. It seems to make sense. I don't think this view is asking for any great leaps in logic or interpretation. What do you think?

Here is just a quote from it: "The mercy is real because the opportunity is real."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Pronouns, Pronouns...

"Me and her were going to play on the playground."
My 9 year old daughter said this to me during a ride to the Art Museum on Saturday.
"She and I were going to play on the playground." I corrected her.

I explained to her the easy way to figure this out. You just say each pronoun on its own and see if it sounds right.
"I [was] going to play..."
"She [was] going to play."
It clicked. She got it.

Then, I explained to her that sometimes "me and her" would be the right words ... if they were the object in the sentence.
"AJ was mean to me and her."
"AJ was mean to me."
"AJ was mean to her."

At this point, my little girl said that it was funny how many different words can be used to mean a person when you don't use their names. Ah, yes. Then, I told her we could even say "us" in the above sentence.

"AJ was mean to us."

My daughter then said something that reminded me of the discussion I was having here last week about 2 Peter 3:8-9.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9

She said: "The only problem with saying us, mom, is that no one knows who you mean."

Hmmm... so if I said,
"AJ was mean to us"
.... it could mean all the girls, the whole school, everyone in your class or ... just you and your friend.

Interesting, these pronouns.

Lord of the Flies

While I enjoy theology books and need to and intend to read more, I really like to read for entertainment. I just finished a book that was really interesting. It was about a bunch of boys stranded on an island. I knew nothing about this book until I finished it. Then, in the back of the book, there were some notes on the book from an interview with the author, William Golding. Apparently, it was a parable of a book. Everything ... except something on the last page ... had symbolic meaning. I just love a book like that!

For me, it was not so terribly obvious as I read the book that it was symbolic. That is what made it remarkable to me (or maybe it just shows how dense I am!) I started to get an idea that it was about human nature and human depravity, but I had no idea the complexity of the story and the symbolism.

I recommend this book. I want to read it again. I really liked it.

Wikpedia article about "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Literal Interpretation is Important Why?

Dispensationalism (Literal Hermenuetic) and the True Gospel Message
An exerpt from a great article by Shawn Abigail

... To this point, we have defended Dispensationalism by showing that it teaches a single method of salvation, and is not linked to either the Calvinistic or Arminian theological camps. But what positive effects does it have in the preaching of the Gospel? If we consider the three foundational principles upon which Dispensationalism is built, we will see that far from corrupting the Gospel, Dispensationalism defends the Gospel! These foundational principles are literal interpretation of the Bible, a distinction between the Church and Israel, and an emphasis on the Glory of God.

The first foundation of Dispensationalism is literal interpretation of the Bible. Literal interpretation is absolutely essential for the clear and correct understanding of the Gospel. Consider for moment a few verses of Scripture, and the potential effect if a person does not take them literally:

Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Isaiah 64:6 - "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;"

Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Ephesians 2:8,9 - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

John 3:18 - "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Obviously the Gospel cannot be preached clearly and correctly, and cannot be understood and received effectually unless literal interpretation of the Bible is used. We should be on our guard against any systems of theology that reject literal interpretation!

The second foundation for Dispensationalism is a distinction between the Church and Israel. First Corinthians 10:32 says, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:". There is a great distinction in Scripture between the Church and Israel. This has a powerful effect in the content of our Gospel. There are some who are presenting the "prosperity gospel" which in effect says, if you obey God, material blessings will result. Obviously this comes from confusing Israel with the Church. While Israel had spiritual blessings, their blessings were primarily physical. On the other hand, while the Church has physical blessings, our blessings are primarily spiritual. This "prosperity gospel" is taken to ridiculous heights, reducing the Almighty God to no much more than Santa Claus.

Making a clear distinction between the Church and Israel also helps when some would muddy the waters through judaizing (i.e. trying to make Old Testament Law apply to Christians in the current dispensation). Making a distinction between the Church and Israel will help preserve our Gospel message from those who would make Sabbath keeping, animal sacrifice or dietary laws part of the message of salvation.

The third foundation for Dispensationalism is an emphasis on God's Glory rather than man's salvation as being God's ultimate purpose. You may ask, how does this contribute to the Gospel message? First, it helps remind sinful man that he will someday glorify God, either in His Divine Mercy as Saviour, or in His Divine Justice as Judge. This is a fearful and powerful message! This emphasis on God's Glory also helps lift the burden in evangelism off of us. Oh yes, we are still required to preach the word, to witness, to show forth the way of salvation! But God Himself in the One who obtains the results. A Dispensationalist knows that God is Glorified every time the Gospel is preached, and we do not allow ourselves to become discouraged if we are being faithful in preaching the Good News but go through a "dry spell" when we see few souls saved.

I found this article on this website: Brethren Online


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