Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is the Body of Christ an epileptic?

If I tell you that I am an Old Earth Creationalist, support Obama, believe in a Post Tribulation, and that I believe Christians today need to know the Torah, how many different controversies have I covered?
I am not writing this to negotiate a debate. I am writing this to point out that Christianity is divided in more ways than just the few things I mentioned. Denominations and non denominations are already doing quite well with the educated best guess called Theology. I have no idea of the actual number of different branches that have come into existence since Martin Luther nailed his thoughts to a door five hundred years ago. Ever since that moment, the splintering effect of his decision has been increasingly rapid.
No. I am not saying we all need to become Catholic. Believe me, the gravity of our division has deep roots in many different areas and Church history, the kind that has been traditionally detailed in our Educational Institutions, is just one more area that can spark great debate. The Protestant Catholic divide brings many legitimate questions and what exactly Church History is in the first place could be the title for thesis. In recent times there has been the rise of people looking into the Hebrew roots of our Faith, often with the hope that what is being discovered is somehow closer and more pure in its truth. It does not take a lot of looking into this movement before the sign of even more division is seen taking place there as well. And it does not take a lot of looking around to find others who are willing to point fingers and call it legalism.
I have asked why before. I have gone and asked pastors and anyone I could find why. Usually one of the first answers I have been given to this question is from I Corinthians chapter 12, that we are all one body with different parts. There are Baptist and snake wielding Pentecostals, Presbyterians and cautious Lutherans, and so the basic answer is that these are the parts of the body… But is Christ the head? How can a body decide to have the arms play basketball while the legs are diligently hooking up for bunji cord jumping?
The problem is that our human minds and our human thinking can never discover unity. Oh we say we then just practice love and go on from there, but the reality of this is that we put limits on how much tolerance we have for doctrines and dogma that strays too far from what we believe.
Where are our inter faith picnics or softball leagues? I know that many of us will fellowship with our neighbors when our specific faiths do not perfectly line up, but even without thinking about it we are doing much more to create walls then we are “having all things in common.”
And the world sees it. The world is telling us that our Bible is filled contradictions and we can argue all we want because we are living contradictions. Are we ready to set aside all we think we know yet? Can we bow our heads together no matter what is we think should believe and ask Christ to really be our head?  What if ever person who calls themselves a Christian would honestly seek God together in this?
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  1. (Here's an item just seen on the web!)

    Famous Rapture Watchers - Addendum

    by Dave MacPherson

    (The statements in my "Famous Rapture Watchers" web article appeared in my 1983 book "The Great Rapture Hoax" and quoted only past leaders. Here are the other leaders who were quoted in that original printing.)

    Oswald J. Smith: "...I am absolutely convinced that there will be no rapture before the Tribulation, but that the Church will undoubtedly be called upon to face the Antichrist..." (Tribulation or Rapture - Which?, p. 2).

    Paul B. Smith: "You are perfectly free to quote me as believing rather emphatically in the post-tribulation teaching of the Bible" (letter dated June 9, 1976).

    S. I. McMillen: "...Christians will suffer in the Great Tribulation" (Discern These Times, p. 55).

    Norman F. Douty: "...all of the evidence of history runs one way - in favor of Post-tribulationism" (Has Christ's Return Two Stages?, p. 113).

    Leonard Ravenhill: "There is a cowardly Christianity which...still comforts its fainting heart with the hope that there will be a rapture - perhaps today - to catch us away from coming tribulation" (Sodom Had No Bible, p. 94).

    William Hendriksen: "...the one and only second coming of Christ to judgment" (Israel in Prophecy, p. 29).

    Loraine Boettner: "Hence we conclude that nowhere in Scripture does it teach a secret or pre-tribulation Rapture" (The Millennium, p. 168).

    J. Sidlow Baxter: "...believers of the last days (there is only one small part of the total Church on earth at any given moment) will be on earth during the so-called 'Great Tribulation' " (Explore the Book, Vol. 6, p. 345).

    Merrill C. Tenney: "There is no convincing reason why the seer's being 'in the Spirit' and being called into heaven [Revelation 4:1-2] typifies the rapture of the church..." (Interpreting Revelation, p. 141).

    James R. Graham: "...there is not a line of the N.T. that declares a pre-tribulation rapture, so its advocates are compelled to read it into certain indeterminate texts..." (Watchman, What of the Night?, p. 79).

    Ralph Earle: "The teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture seems first to have been emphasized widely about 100 years ago by John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren" (Behold, I Come, p. 74).

    Clarence B. Bass: "...I most strongly believe dispensationalism to be a departure from the historic faith..." (Backgrounds to Dispensationalism, p. 155).

    William C. Thomas: "The return of Jesus Christ, described by parousia, revelation, and epiphany, is one single, glorious, triumphant event for which we all wait with great eagerness!" (The Blessed Hope in the Thessalonian Epistles of Paul, p. 42).

    Harold J. Ockenga: "No exegetical justification exists for the arbitrary separation of the 'coming of Christ' and the 'day of the Lord.' It is one 'day of the Lord Jesus Christ' " (Christian Life, February, 1955).

    Duane Edward Spencer: "Paul makes it very clear that the Church will pass through the Great Tribulation" ("Rapture-Tribulation" cassette).

    J. C. Maris: "Nowhere the Bible teaches that the Church of Jesus Christ is heading for world dominion. On the contrary - there will be no place for her, save in 'the wilderness,' where God will take care of her (Rev. 12:13-17)" (I.C.C.C. leaflet "The Danger of the Ecumenical Movement," p. 2).

    F. F. Bruce: "To meet the Lord [I Thessalonians 4:17]...on the final stage of...[Christ's] the earth..." (New Bible Commentary: Revised, p. 1159).

    G. Christian Weiss: "Some people say that this ['gospel of the kingdom' in Matthew 24:14] is not the gospel of grace but is a special aspect of the gospel to be preached some time in the future. But there is nothing in the context to indicate this" ("Back to the Bible" broadcast, February 9, 1976).

    Pat Brooks: "Soon we, in the Body of Christ, will be confronted by millions of people disillusioned by such false teaching [Pre-Tribism]" (Hear, O Israel, p. 186).

    Herman Hoeksema: "...the time of Antichrist, when days so terrible are still to arrive for the church..." (Behold, He Cometh!, p. 131).

    Ray Summers: "Because they [Philadelphia] have been faithful, he promises his sustaining grace in the tribulation..." (Worthy Is the Lamb, p. 123).

    George E. Ladd: "[Pretribulationism] may be guilty of the positive danger of leaving the Church unprepared for tribulation when Antichrist appears..." (The Blessed Hope, p. 164).

    Peter Beyerhaus: "The Christian Church on earth [will face] the final, almost superhuman test of being confronted with the apocalyptical temptation by Antichrist" (Christianity Today, April 13, 1973).

    Leon Morris: "The early Christians...looked for the Christ to come as Judge" (Apocalyptic, p. 84).

    Dale Moody: "There is not a passage in the New Testament to support Scofield. The call to John to 'come up hither' has reference to mystical ecstasy, not to a pretribulation rapture" (Spirit of the Living God, p. 203).

    John R. W. Stott: "He would not spare them from the suffering [Revelation 3:10]; but He would uphold them in it" (What Christ Thinks of the Church, p. 104).

    G. R. Beasley-Murray: "...the woman, i.e., the Church...flees for refuge into the wilderness [Revelation 12:14]..." (The New Bible Commentary, p. 1184).

    Bernard L. Ramm: " the Church moves to meet her Lord at the parousia world history is also moving to meet its Judge at the same parousia" (Leo Eddleman's Last Things, p. 41).

    J. Barton Payne: "...the twentieth century has indeed witnessed a progressively rising revolt against pre-tribulationism" (The Imminent Appearing of Christ, p. 38).

    Robert H. Gundry: "Divine wrath does not blanket the entire seventieth week...but concentrates at the close" (The Church and the Tribulation, p. 63).

    C. S. Lovett: "Frankly I favor a post-trib rapture...I no longer teach Christians that they will NOT have to go through the tribulation" (PC, January, 1974).

    Walter R. Martin: "Walter Martin finally said...'Yes, I'm a post-trib' " (Lovett's PC, December, 1976).

    Jay Adams: "Today's trend is...from pre- to posttribulationism" (The Time Is at Hand, p. 2).

    Jim McKeever: "Nowhere do the Scriptures say that the Rapture will precede the Tribulation" (Christians Will Go Through the Tribulation, p. 55).

    Arthur Katz: "I think it fair to tell you that I do not subscribe to the happy and convenient theology which says that God's people are going to be raptured and lifted up when a time of tribulation and trial comes" (Reality, p. 8).

    Billy Graham: "Perhaps the Holy Spirit is getting His Church ready for a trial and tribulation such as the world has never known" (Sam Shoemaker's Under New Management, p. 72).

    W. J. Grier: "The Scofield Bible makes a rather desperate tries to get in the 'rapture' of the saints before the appearing of Antichrist" (The Momentous Event, p. 58).

    Pat Robertson: "Jesus Christ is going to come back to earth again to deliver Israel and at the same time to rapture His Church; it's going to be one moment, but it's going to be a glorious time" ("700 Club" telecast, May 14, 1975).

    Ben Kinchlow: "Any wrath [during the Tribulation] that comes upon us - any difficulty - will not be induced by God, but it'll be like the people are saying, 'The cause of our problems are those Christians in our midst; we need to get rid of them' " ("700 Club" telecast, August 28, 1979).

    Daniel P. Fuller: "It is thus concluded that Dispensationalism fails to pass the test of an adequate system of Biblical Interpretation" (The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism, p. 369).

    Corrie ten Boom: "The Bible prophesies that the time will come when we cannot buy or sell, unless we bear the sign of the Antichrist..." (Tramp for the Lord, p. 187).

  2. lot of good information here. sorry i didn't respond sooner, Ive been busy and i had notifications turned off for some reason.