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

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