I have written on the topic of “Rapture Theology” — more properly called Dispensationalism — before. But, in case you doubt my perspective — or want further reinforcement of it — here are some videos from the Asbury Theological Seminary’s Seedbed that discuss this topic.
Dr. Ben Witherington III, a well known conservative New Testament scholar discusses the history of Dispensationalism and it’s interpretation of Scripture. I have included three videos by Dr. Witherington.
Where Did Rapture Theology Come From?
A List of Scriptures that Teach or Imply that Christian Salvation can be Lost.
WARNING: This is a very long list of Scripture passages, along with some comments from myself and a few historic Bible commentators. Don’t expect to read this straight through in one sitting. (The imagery of salvation being “lost” is also a bit problematic. The idea here is not “lost” in the sense of inadvertently misplaced, but “lost” in the sense of forfeited.) Obviously, these Scriptures are a beginning point for the discussion of these issues. My point is how pervasive this theme really is. Quotes are given from historic commentators with differing perspectives — some Arminian, some more Calvinistic — again, the point is the pervasiveness of this theme.
The Bible warns us time and time again about the danger of falling away from the faith. The following list of Scriptures is by no means complete or exhaustive. Much of the the New Testament can be quoted against the “once-saved-always-saved” doctrine. (more…)
This post is primarily just a list — for me to archive — and for those who might be interested. I have also included (at the end) a video presentation by Dr. Andrew Lincoln on the significance of the “I am” passages in the Gospel of John.
In one of the churches I pastored, I led a series of brief Lenten studies on the “I am” sayings in the Gospel of John. In preparation for this, I did a search to find how many sayings like this there really were. I was a bit surprised how many I found.
Occasionally I get asked about this, so it occurs to me that there may be other people who would also find this list interesting. (more…)
I always have several books going all at the same time. Some I plow through quickly. Some I never finish. Some I lay aside to pick up later.
Tim Otto writes about the significance of the controversy in the Church over same-gender sex: “The conflict around same-sex relationships can either cause further division within the church, or, by faith, we can see the struggle as our teacher. By bringing up questions about family, social relations, church unity, and politics, this debate can help us think well and live more deeply into the dream God has for us and the world. It can help us, as God’s little flock, receive the kingdom that God is offering with so much pleasure. And if that happens, it will mean more gospel, more good news for everyone.” From: Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships.
Michael J. Quicke on preaching: “Preaching’s awesome task is about evoking an alternative community that lives for a different agenda — for God, for the wider community, and for the world. Preaching needs to be experienced as prophetic, transformational, incarnational, and diverse. Catalytic, life-changing preaching accomplishes deep outcomes in God’s purposes.” From: 360-Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word.
The scholars often remind us that the prophets were people who spoke for God. Thus, they were primarily forth-tellers, not primarily fore-tellers. It is a point that needs to be repeated often. The word prophet does not mean “someone who predicts things.” It really means “someone who speaks the Word of God.” The prophets enabled the people to hear what God was saying to them at their own particular place and time in history.
For some reason, in the popular mind, prophesy has become connected with prediction. When popular preachers speak of what they call “Bible Prophesy” they are most often referring to Bible Apocalyptic: like the highly symbolic material in the book of Daniel or the book of Revelation. But, this is not the heart of prophesy.
The heart of prophesy is: “Thus says the LORD.” (more…)
I want to especially draw attention to Allan R. Bevere’s series on the meaning and significance of the book of Revelation.
To speak of reading Revelation from a Wesleyan perspective is not to suggest that such a reading is unique from other Christian interpretive traditions. It is to affirm that everyone approaches Scripture with assumptions and a interpretive posture.
Allan draws from Joel Green’s book, Reading Scripture as Wesleyans.
Here are the posts in the series:
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #1: Introduction
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #2: Seeing and Responding to the World
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #3: The Worship of God in All of Life
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #4: The Need to Resist Competing Stories
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #5: A Challenge to the Church and a Critique of the World
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #6: The Idolatry of Wealth
- Reading Revelation as Wesleyans #7: Discipleship Is Costly When Resisting the Empire (Final Post)
It is a series well worth reading.
Where do John Wesley and his early followers fit in the familiar end-time schemas of a-millennial, post-millennial and pre-millennial (and it’s pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib flavors)?
People looking for information about this find that there is very little available.
Here’s the reason: John Wesley doesn’t fit any of these schemas exactly. He has been claimed by both pre-millennialists (Christ returns to establish an age of peace and righteousness on earth) and post-millennialists (an age of peace and righteousness on Earth is established through the advancement of Christian faith, and then Christ returns). And, individual quotations from his works can be lifted out both to support or refute both viewpoints.
First, let me note Wesley’s approach to the book of Revelation, as a way of introducing and illustrating the problem. (more…)
“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
“Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. ”
— Revelation 1:4-7 (NRSV)
These scripture passages remind me of the words of an old favorite Gospel chorus:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
And, it is interesting to note that this is the message of the book of Revelation, also. Here, continually, Jesus Christ is held before us as Savior, Lord of history and the center of our hope. A study of the book of Revelation ought to bring to us a clearer vision of Jesus Christ. If it doesn’t, we have missed the point of it all. It is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1), and he appears in it continually. He is the Son of Pan, the Lamb, the White rider. He is always the central character. If we were to spend a lifetime studying this book (and you easily could) and miss the vision of Jesus Christ that lies at its heart, we would have wasted our time. John wrote this book to encourage people encountering persecution to “turn their eyes upon Jesus.” (more…)