Wednesday, May 27, 2009

California and Gay Marriage...

This is by far the most sensitive blog so far. I have words for both sides that neither will like but this is how I see it.

Those of you who call yourselves Christ-followers these words are for you. We all know scripture's stance on homosexuality. There are few verses but they are clear. It believes that it is a mal-socialization and the world has told you this was a stupid stance. But what was your response to the world? Was it love or war? Peace or punishment? Sympathy and Empathy or Judgment? Grace or hate? I think we know the answer to this. "Well," you might say, "We can't let them steal our institution." There is more wrong with this statement than I care to argue and this is complex but I will bring Christ words in to it like we always should.

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it."
~(Matthew 23:16-23, Jesus to the pharisees)
Jesus looks at the pharisees and gives them harsh words. These are the men that love religion. These are the men that embody the great religion of God. They try their hardest to follow the scriptures. They do everything that God has told them to since the beginning and as literally as possible. Yet our perfect Lord Jesus comes and is not harsher to any other group than these. He fights with them all the way until they kill him. Here he tells them that, again, they have it wrong. And what should I ask you, "Which is greater: The institution or the One that makes the institution sacred? Do you swear fidelity by the institution or by the Uniter?"

What then do we have to be afraid of? What do we have to defend, even at the expense of our reputations? The answer is nothing. There is no institution which requires our defense to the point where we lose our only distinguishing mark. Christ said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends..."
~(John 13:34-35 & 15:9-14)
Are we known to all men for our love for one another (not only love but the intensity of love like Christ)? I think we also know the answer to this. We have become known for the things we hate. We have been characterized by those things we are against. We have become defined by our dislikes. And not just regular hate, dislikes and things contrary but all of those with such an intensity that we look like our enemies. We are not known for our love.

For those of you who are saying to yourselves, "Yeah! get 'um!" here are your words. You too are trying to legalize institutional morality. For all the religion bashing you may want to participate in, you too are a part of a group that holds certain beliefs very important; maybe even illogically. They are beliefs, not facts. It is a moral position and a relatively new one at that. It is far more complex than any side is making it. They may be trying to force their beliefs on you but this is not any different than what you are doing to them. These are not criticism so please don't take offense, this is merely a way of asking you to put yourself in their shoes and see the commonalities of both the actions and beliefs.

Christians, please for the sake of Christ's teaching, do not gloat or boast victorious about this latest judicial decision for surely man's court will one day be for you and the next day against. Instead, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil... If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
~(Romans 12:14-18)

May we come to see that it is not about winning or losing but about how we treat eachother in the process. May we come to see that our enemies need to change but in "pointing out the speck in our neighbor's eye" may we see "the plank in our own." May we see that we are not so different after all (in our iniquity and in our endeavor) in the good and bad. May we see Christ even in our enemies and love others even to the death of institutions and especially ourselves.

Blessings and Peace!

P.S.
On a completely unrelated note: Go buy The Welcome Wagon's album, it is so simple and catchy that you will weep with joy and delight...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day's Call...

The origins of Memorial Day are unclear. It seems that the country was in collective mourning and some how the idea rose out of the people. It was originally called "Decoration Day," but this only made official and national the independent outpouring of those who remained, even if they remained wholly broken.

First the North decorated the tombs of their soldiers. The South refused to participate officially but there were great stories that came. There is a story of two women who brought flowers on the same day to honor their loved ones. They saw each other and decided to put some of the flowers they brought on the other woman's intended grave. They developed a friendship in that "Friendship Cemetery" in Mississippi but mourned the graves of those who had no one and decided to return to decorate the other graves. They did, and in a rare moment not even seen in the North, they decorated all the graves of soldiers, both Union and Confederate.

The day was placed on May 30th so that there would be plenty of wildflowers growing to decorate all the graves. After WWI, the south finally joined and later it became even more official. Its official purpose is to mourn those fallen in combat. It is not to honor those veterans that are alive, that is veteran's day. This is to remember. But what are we to remember? What are we to value about the sacrifice? What are some lessons learned?

In remembering the sacrifices gone before I am overwhelmed that men and women, most of them mere boys and girls younger than I am now, went to foreign places and took up arms to protect ideals and paradigms. Their sacrifice will not be in vain and always remembered. For as long as America is remembered their sacrifice to support it will be tied to it. I am blessed to be an American.

But to fully honor those who have fallen I must also clarify what this day isn't and what they did not die for. This day is not to be a glorification of the military or militarism. Pride of strength and the love of victory will destroy us. We still have Jesus' words to contend with. He makes it very clear that an important distinction for Christians is that they will treat their enemies with love and kindness. They will pray for them. They will wish them well. They will feed them. They will go the extra mile for them and turn the other cheek. They will not be overcome by evil but over come evil with good. I don't say this to be contentious, realizing that this is quite possibly some of the hardest teachings of Jesus.

I say this because there is pride in our victories and an assumption that God is for us and not others. Many pulpits have been used to justify the things that Jesus was very clearly against. Militarism has crept into the church and Christians are more likely to follow party lines when it comes to military, war, and (in a new study) even torture (here). These soldiers did not die for America right or wrong. The day couldn't be about America right or wrong, it sprung from a war that was America vs. America.

No, this day is calling for more of a reflection than just more unhealthy patriotism and nationalism. It calls for a total rethinking of violence all together. What would they say? Would they hope that more wars like theirs would plague us? The answer is unquestionably, "No!" But how far should we go to avoid violence? Some say we shouldn't be afraid of it. Some would propose a "just war" idea where defense is acceptable. And yet some would follow Jesus' example of complete non-violence. Here is a link to some awesome quotes of how the earliest Christians thought about and followed Christ's commands and example (here).

May this day speak to you as American. May it tell you that you have freedom and peace, but may it point you longingly to the peace and freedom that come from Christ and endure in the harshest of oppression and even to death, that which is universal. May the remembrance of those fallen lead you to contemplate the fragility of life and limb but let it more spur into the words of Christ who call for a ceasing of such things. May peace be with you all!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Last of the Series on Dispensationalism

What I have been talking about is called Kingdom Eschatology! This is the belief that basically we don't have to experience the world coming to a harsh and crashing end, that the world doesn't have to go to hell in a hand basket. That we as Christ followers do not have to fear anything, in part because we have power over dreadful things and in part because nothing worth fearing is going to rise up and destroy us (i.e. antichrist). Don't quote me as saying that no bad things will effect us. Christ is very clear, "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15: 20).

So why is this a big deal? Many of my brothers and sister in the Lord have been apart of an ideal that is not accurate and is only less than 200 years old (Dispensationalism). It wouldn't be such a big deal to let inaccuracy remain except it causes irrational and unfounded behavior. I see in the Church at large having a fear of change. Not in its beliefs or understanding, but a fear of change in things small and large. Again, not the older generation being afraid of carpet colors and new songs, but generation against generation, christian against christian. Political preference has become a huge issue and salvation is concerned for on issues of no concern in that area. As vague as this sounds, that's the feeling that has entered the church. There seems to be a haze of uneasiness and discomfort and so we as people resort to extremes. We demonize those things we don't understand and create factions. This seems to be the picture of the Church in the last few decades and even centuries.

Kingdom Eschatology believes that we get to partner with the Almighty God through Christ to advance love and grace, the likes of which has never been seen, that of which we have been shown. It believes that we can make a difference in the world for good and overcome differences in the world forever by living out the resurrection and finding strength in its power. Fear has no hold. Death has no hold. And "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8). Praise the name of Jesus! We are free! And not just free from this or that but "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8)

Some other things that Kingdom Eschatology (which is part of Partial Preterism) combats:
~"That Israel still has unfinished business and will be absolved later."
~~~The Church is God's business and in it all are one and complete. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:28-29)
~~~We are the real children of Abraham and the new Israel. The new covenant is forever and the Old will never exist again. "By calling this covenant 'new,' he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear" (Hebrews 8:13, Romans 9-11).
~~~This is an important distinction because it means we don't have to support Israel right or wrong. We can condemn their actions that violate Human Rights. Though we are always to pray for the peace of Israel, that peace does not have to come by violence.
~"Matthew 24 is not fulfilled"
~~~Of course it has and most of the early church fathers believed it had in 70 a.d. and suggest otherwise is to assume wrong things about the new testament writers and Christs words.

Some problems with Kingdom Eschatology:
~ It maintains an earlier date for the writing of Revelations than most are comfortable with. It would have to have been written before 70 a.d. whereas it has been assumed as late as 90 ad and this is the current belief. This isn't necessarily the date that has been historically agreed upon and church fathers haven't found this to be a huge problem, but it is worth noting.

I am glad to be done with the series but would love to continue the conversation. I know I have expressed these ideas as factual and the end of the line, but know that I am still exploring and will continue to explore. If I come across anything that fits all the facts more than this, I will begin to explore that. Leave comments if you have questions or just want to converse about ideas. All opinions are Welcome!

Blessings and Peace!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tribulation Troubles...

The main idea that there is impending doom or "tribulation" comes from Matthew 24/ Mark 13. This has been summed up as the "Olivet Discourse" as it takes place on the Mount of Olive after coming out of the temple area. Most Christians believe that this future prediction is not fulfilled yet and therefore anything predicted by Jesus is for us; today. Again, this happens because people mash other verses with this one. We have already talked about how they do this with the antichrist and so I will use it again here. When Jesus says, "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Mt. 24:15-16) then those mashers of scripture (dispensationalist and those not willing to study) say that this must be THE antichrist as described in Revelations 13 (which we already proved has no connection to the real antichrist and most early church fathers believed it and this to be fulfilled).

Many of the other New Testament writers also try to prepare their intended readers to expect some major rumble to happen but it is usually to be very quick and not at all to be 2000 years into the future. They says things like "last days" or even "hours" but do not mean the end of time but only the end of an age:
  • Acts 2 has Peter giving a speech about the "Last Days" but applies it to what was happening just then,
  • Hebrews 1 begins with "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" obviously not referring to thousands of years from now
  • In 1 John he says that "this is the last hour"
All of those talk about a terrible last time but it is more immediate than thousands of years from now. We may want to make excuses for those writers but we have to believe that their urgency was not wrong and that something terrible was going to happen; and it did. Even Jesus repeated himself when he said, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. " Many men have tried to justify this verse and word but it remains that this was an urgent word for those standing there, especially when viewed in context with Mt. 23.

Adam Clarke sums up a lot of what the early church believed. Adam Clarke was a disciple of Christ under the teaching of John Wesley. He said, "Here then is one portion of Divine Scripture that is incontrovertibly and absolutely proved to be the truth of God." (Commentary on Mt. 24. You can read the whole hear: http://www.godrules.net/library/clarke/clarkemat24.htm).

So if Jesus clearly speaks of a time of tribulation (or "distress") and we are not to be expecting it for us, who is/was it for and why? This the next best possible question and is very easily answered. In Matthew 23 (just before 24) Jesus very plainly addresses a people and predicts destruction.
  • "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate." (Mt 23:33-38 Emphasis mine).
  • Jesus clearly addresses Jerusalem and the Jewish Nation
  • He is mad at them for all the prophets they've killed and for killing him by crucifixion
  • It will happen when? "This Generation."
  • I am not saying the Jews are cursed and neither is Jesus, as you will see, this is to be a one time thing that will happen and then be done.
Most church fathers believed that this devastation or tribulation of Jerusalem happened already in 70 a.d. (Adam Clarke, John Wesley, Henry (sometimes), Eusebius, Melito, Origen, Chrysostom, Athanasius, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and almost all the others I listed in the previous blog). This is when the roman army marched into Jerusalem and destroyed it to the point that the Jewish people were never ever the same. Even now they feel the effects and mourn because there is no Temple. The Romans marched in and killed everything in sight, burnt down what they could and destroyed the temple to the point that they even dug up the foundation. This is not mentioned in the bible but in a Jewish Historians account (Josephus) and in Titus Arch (which was a victorious arch that celebrates the occaission. Jews to this day will not walk under it.) (All this can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70)).

So are you saying that there is no impending tribulation? I only say what the scripture says, but yes. What about the idea that we are to be raptured (taken away supernaturally) before, during, or after this tribulation? It simply is not in the scripture that a rapture is tied to a tribulation in that way we have thought and in fact the rapture is the next blog and it will blow your mind.

So we don't have to be scared of a boogie man antichrist who will rise through governmental structures and take over the world to bring upon us a tribulation that could possibly lead to the death of millions and Christ will have to whisk us away just to spare us? No and this idea only came about in the 1830's and before that most church fathers were optimistic about the future of the world and even rejoiced at the thought of the bright future.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I am not claiming all knowledge, merely just reporting on the crazy things I am finding and how my paradigm is being shifted by revelation and study.

Blessings and Peace!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Anti-Christ (Fact and Myth) dun dun dunnnnnnn....


(This image is the least offensive one I can find which makes this blog all the more important to dispel the awful and unfounded notions out there).

The Anti-christ has been a terrifying picture for many believers and non-believers alike. But where does the notion come from and how has it evolved to become the distortion it is today?

Before we begin, we must first look at how Christians determine doctrine and beliefs. Protestants have their saying, "Sola Scriptura " which is easily translated, "Only Scripture" or "By Scripture alone." This is the mindset that all discernible beliefs and practices should be derived from Scripture. It is the belief that I ascribe to and the one from which I will argue. The other side of the coin that comes into play is Tradition which Catholics allow. We Protestants believe we are purer but we also have tradition mixed in as well and I will use tradition but only as a support for proper interpretation of scriptura.

The word antichrist is in the bible not 500 times, not 50 times, not even 15 times but 5 times and in 4 verses. Just so no one says, "Well your bible says that, what about others?" I use the NIV but the King James Version has the exact same dimensions. Most of you will be able to count that on one hand. The term is not found throughout the scripture but in two epistles; 1st John and 2nd John. I am not downplaying its importance, just locating it. Why has it been so distorted? Is it a vague concept? No, the verses define what antichrist means. Here are the first three:
  1. "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son." (1 John 2: 18-22) (Emphasis mine)
  • What we've learned:
  • The antichrist is not one but "many"
  • they are "coming" and "have come"
  • They look like everybody else, not special, because "they went out from us"
  • The definition is "denies that Jesus is the Christ"
  1. "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:1-4) (Emp. mine)
  • What we've learned:
  • definition expanded to "Jesus is not from God"
  • We can easily "overcome them" as we already have
  1. "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." (2 John 1:7) (Emp. mine)
  • What we've learned:
  • Definition expanded to those "who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh"
These are the three passages that expressly talk of the antichrist. I trust you agree with the definitions and the other things listed of what we've learned. But why do people believe these other things and where do they find them?

There are 2-3 other places where men expand the definitions of antichrist by making correlations that are not warranted in any form of study and learning. The first is the "man of lawlessness" of 2 Thess. 2, the beast of Revelation, and the weeks of Daniel in his book chapter 9.
  1. "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth."
  • What we've learned:
  • This IS a single man (not many or a spirit)
  • This is in no way connected to the antichrist
  • He was already alive at that time but not revealed
  • Paul does not want us/them to "be deceived" in that it should be simple
  • Dispensationalist take these characteristics and personify the spirit of antichrist
  • Most men before 1830 believed this to be fulfilled in the first Century
Men sometimes make that argument on semantics that "anti" means "against" and "Christ" generally means "God" or "of God" (which it doesn't, technically speaking). Then they leap all the way over to "anything that is against God is an/the antichrist." This and the arguments made from the book of Daniel are ludicrous and not worth refuting. Revelations Chapter 13 speaks of a "beast" that is from "the dragon" (Rev. 13:4) which is explicitly named to be "satan" (Rev. 12:9). Many men believe "the BEAST" to be the antichrist with his new man qualities taken from the "lawless one." This dragon will be "worshiped." He will have "great authority" that the "whole world" will take notice and follow. They will ask, "Who can make war against Him?" In their flawed thinking, dispensationalist/futurist correlate this beast and the antichrist when there is no evidence to support this at all. They assume that he will rise through the ranks of government and military to become a one world leader and then claim to be God or better. They manipulate this idea from the allusions to authority, war, worshiped, whole world, etc. This describes the belief of many Christians and is taught in the popular "Left Behind" series which is admittedly dispensationalist.
  • "And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. 4Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" (Revelation 13:1-4) (Emp. mine)

As you can see there are no correlations between these passages implied or explicit. Men have said so and only since 1830. It was commonly believed that "the beast" and the "man of lawlessness" were Nero Caeser who reigned in the 1st century and persecuted Christians (starting in A. D. 64) like crazy. Connecting the Lawless one and the beast is not expressed in scripture but in history only. But many early church fathers believed the beast to be Nero for sure ("Augustine, City of God 20:19... Chrysostom cited in Alford, Greek Testament, 2:80. Victorinus, Apocalypse 17:16; Lactantius, On the Death of the Persecutors 2; Sulpicius Severus, Sacred History 2:28, 29" taken from http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pt550.htm#_ftn23).

I know this is really weird for people who don't share the same faith and ideals, but let me summarize all those words. There will be no single entity called the antichrist who is super powerful and be expressly a government or military leader. It is absolutely ridiculous to call President Obama the antichrist because first he acknowledges Jesus Christ; that he came in the flesh from God which is the exact opposite of the definition of the real antichrists. Some have said that the original antichrists were in the church and then left (which is true) and therefore we can't trust Obama's words because he could be lying now (which is awful logic and defeats the purpose of the church). The reason this is ridiculous is because I could easily say the same thing about any one in the church, siting our political and non-essential belief differences. Likewise, it is absolutely ridiculous for the religious left to call antichrist on Bush or any other republican, warmongering, wealth greedy figure. It is not a figure, but a clearly defined spirit. To take an extreme example, even Hitler couldn't be the antichrist BECAUSE THE ANTICHRIST ISN'T A HE OR SINGLE PERSON.

We need to reclaim the word for what it is and stop being children in using it to demonize our enemies (unjustly and unscripturally). We are better than this, smarter than this, and to be characterized by more love than this.

May you come to see the world with more grey areas then before. May we reject those things we have believed wrongly before. May we see that the antichrist is real but not to be feared and much different then we expected. May you come to know that our love from Christ has made it possible to easily overcome the antichrist. And may Christ's peace be with you always even in hard times.

(point of interest: MS Word and this blogs spell check want me to change "antichrist" to capital 'A' "Antichrist" as if it were a proper noun or someones name. How permeated has the idea become? even the scripture that invents the word is not capitalized.)

Blessings and Peace!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dispensationalism's Common Hold...

These are going to be weird posts for those who aren't in the faith and may even seem like bickering about unimportant things. It may sound like pure nonsense to some and you know what; that's ok!

Dispensationalism and Futurism is the common eschatology (end times belief) of most evangelical churches. The more conservative they are the more prevalent and hyper it is and there are even some elements of it in the Catholic church. Of course these things are far more complicated then I will be able to delve into and the nuance between each holder will be different but we will over-view some things here.

Let me paint the picture I have been told in so many words. The world has to get worse before Christ comes back. This includes more wars and natural disasters. This includes there becoming a one-world government. This includes an Anti-Christ to rise as a super-military politico. He will be very powerful and even do miracles to the degree that Christians follow him instead of Christ. There will be many people claiming to be Jesus and the tribulation will bring about pestilence, famine and death. Israel will be gathered together and the old Jewish temple will be rebuilt. This is very close to the fear-mongering of "Left Behind" series, which is so popular and but unfortunately not that biblical.

These beliefs have led to many things that would not normally characterize the love of Christ and his people. They have made us scared, secluded, and worst yet, apathetic:
  1. We have justified some great atrocities from Israel on other peoples, territories, and nations. Don't get me wrong, I pray for the peace of Israel and the middle east, and Israel has a special place in my heart, but they do not get a carte blanche to bring about their own ends.
  2. We have been apathetic to the poor and persecuted brothers over seas because the 'end is near.'
  3. We have neglected our own duty to the poor in our communities because the 'end is near.'
  4. In expectations of things getting worse, we have taken very hard-line stances against things that we fear will beat us or bring us to the end.
  5. We have become known for what we are against rather than what we are for.
  6. We have feared change because of the great tribulation that is to come.
  7. We have called people the 'Anti-Christ' and have been against them out of great fear without truly judging their character.
  8. Instead of having greater responsibility for our selves, neighbors, brothers and sisters, communities, and creation as lovers of Christ, we are able to relieve responsibility in the expectation of doom.
  9. And as afraid of the future that we are, we secretly delight in great affliction and atrocity because it means things are close to the end.
These dispensationalist/futurist beliefs have some scripture underneath it but it is believed that they are interpreted wrongly. Some evidence to support that Dispensationalist ideas are misinterpretations of Scripture is found in the idea that Dispensationalism is relatively new to the scene and had not been viewed that way before. Stated clearly, people before 1800 did not believe and fear those things about the future that we commonly do. It was first thought of and promulgated in the year 1830 by a guy named Darby, which is 1800 years after Christ. "According to Charles Ryrie, "'informed dispensationalists' do not 'assert that the system was taught in postapostolic times.... They recognize that, as a system, dispensationalism was largely formulated by Darby' in the 1800s."

So the next few blogs will be about the following:
  • Clarifying who and what the "Anti-Christ" is and where we get the ideas from
  • The great tribulation that was/ is to happen and Matthew 24 (where Jesus predicts the future and what people believe is too come) and the 2 comings
  • Israel and the Church
  • The names of the different historical eschatologies
  • How it compares to what we should actually be, act, live and believe
Let me say that I know that these are paradigm shifting ideas. I know that I don't know that much but am sharing what is being revealed to me, it could be wrong but let us explore to find truth. These things are serious in nature but are not salvation issues and therefore complete, open, and honest debate should take place. I will try to make these shorter.

Blessings and Peace