It is not my desire to ignite controversy. But, I’m going to do it anyway (:
Isn’t that what blogging is for: to strike up dialogue, probe opinions and make you think?
I have been reading Christ’s Prophetic Plans, by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue. I picked it up just after re-reading Hank Hanegraaff’s Apocalypse Code, so my thoughts are tangled, my opinions mangled and the only thing I remain certain of this that JESUS IS LORD AND I WILL SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM IN HEAVEN! Whew, at least that’s settled!
Caught between these two eschatological view points, each espoused by biblical scholars that I deeply admire, I have digging in unusual places (Google) for better illumination on each opinion. I have ferreted out audio and interviews with MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and Sinclair Ferguson. I have read about John Newton Darby (often regarded as the founder of Dispensationalism) and read about Margaret MacDonald (a woman whose entranced, hysteric mumblings have been regarded at different times both as extra-biblical and demonic.
This reading leads one into discussion of the rapture, the tribulation, the essence of salvation and the distinction of the nation of Israel. While I firmly believe that we are called as Christians to “… you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15) I confess that I remain unresolved on three of these issues.
If one accepted Darby’s view of the secret rapture… Benjamin Wills Newton pointed out, then many Gospel passages must be “renounced as not properly ours.”…this is precisely what Darby was prepared to do.
Too traditional to admit that biblical authors might have contradicted each other, and too rationalist to admit that the prophetic maze defied penetration, Darby attempted a resolution of his exegetical dilemma by distinguishing between Scripture intended for the Church and Scripture intended for Israel…
The task of the expositor of the Bible was, in a phrase that became the hallmark of dispensationalism, “rightly dividing the word of truth”.
From “The Roots of Fundamentalism:
British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930” (1970)
by Ernest R. Sandeen, University of Chicago Press
ISBN 0-22-73467-6, p. 65-67
Makes you think, huh?
It bothers me that as I read both view points, I find the authors of each, demeaning the others. Not only do they espouse a different opinion, but like politicians defending their platforms in an election year, they mock the opposing view. While we study and strive to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and wait expectantly for Him can we not remember,
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:1-3
Paul reminds us:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
“And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’ Jew and Gentilef are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Romans 10:8b-13