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End of the World or All of Life?

End of the World or All of Life?

I have been engaged in a conversation about “who is Babylon” in the book of Revelation here: http://bit.ly/babylon2012

Here is one of my responses:

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Hello again Chris!

Thanks for your reply.

I am not sure how to respond to what you have said about the dating of the book not mattering. Understanding the context is one of the key and most basic elements of interpreting any scripture. I noticed that you said “It seems to me that what John wrote about were future, end-times events.” Are you sure you want to base your interpretation based on “it seems” which is basically an impression?

In case there is confusion about what I meant by “dating” I am referring to WHEN the book was written. I am pretty sure that if you go to any Bible College or read any book on scripture interpretation there will be an almost universal support in all of Christendom for considering the context (include To Whom a book is written and WHEN) when finding an interpretation!

I am guessing that somehow there is a misunderstanding of what I mean by “dating” here. I doubt that you actually mean that when the book was written doesn’t effect it’s interpretation!

Your thoughts?

Is the End of the World in Your Future?
Is the End of the World in Your Future?

On another topic: I’m not sure that what-people-want-to-talk-about (i.e. “people are interested in the end of the world”) has any bearing on what is or is not true. One of the great things about the Bible is that it starts out with a clear defining of “what is the basic nature of reality” which could also be stated as “what is truth.” Genesis begins by describing a world that is real and comes from a source external to our perception (“In the beginning, GOD created!”). In other words, what is true is REALLY true whether or not you or I or anybody else believes it or wants to know about it or not!

I bring this up because “this is what people want to know about” may have some relevance to evangelism strategy, but it has no relevance to “what is truth” and can be a very slippery slope into making truth fuzzy for the purpose of “reaching” people. The problem is, if you reach people with “what they are looking for” instead of with what actually IS you end up with people converted to a false view of God!

Having said that, I have actually observed that many of the people that I talk to and interact with are not very interested in the end-of-the-world Christianity that has been so popular in the United States. Human beings seem to intuitively know that there is a right way to live and a right way to order life and society. They don’t know what it is and come up with some pretty scary counterfeits, but even atheists try to claim an “ethic” in life!

The end-of-the-world obsessed brand of Christianity has happened to result in a Christianity that doesn’t offer enough principle to guide us in how to live our lives and order our societies. As the saying goes “you don’t polish the brass on a sinking ship!”

Of course, if an apocalyptic focused Christianity is what God intended than it doesn’t really matter. We must believe, live, and preach the truth whether or not it is what people want or not!

Fortunately, the end-of-the-world obsessed version of Christianity is not really what the Bible presents. The Bible presents a comprehensive view of how to live all of life (including everything from eternal salvation to marriage to economics and to civil government)!

God created people to live all-of-life. This fact, ironically, seems to make it so that a comprehensive all-of-life “Gospel of the Kingdom of God” seems to have a much more powerful converting effect than a “get ready for the end of the world” focus. It produces better results in the long term development of Christian Society as well.

Blessings!

The Future – Brighter Then We Thought

The Future – Brighter Then We Thought

If the Youtube Video is not working watch here:
https://freedomthirst.com/the-future-has-arrived-meet-the-robinsons-video/

Once upon a time I was listening to a teaching tape by Loren Cunningham. I think it was called “Let’s Turn the World Around.” I remember him sharing about how he didn’t believe everything he’d heard about the “End Times.” I remember him saying something really close to “the anti-Christ can hold his international convention in a phone booth if we work hard enough.”

I don’t know if that was the first time I doubted the negative, apocalyptic vision of the end of the world I’d heard of my whole life, or if it was something else that started me thinking.

I spent years after that around people who spent their energy on preaching the gospel and planning to influence every area of society for God.

One day I was walking by an announcement cork board at a mission center on the West Coast. A piece of paper hanging by a pin caught my eye.

The letter told a story about how supposedly, years before, some important people in Hollywood sent out a letter to churches and denominations around the country. The letter called for pastors and spiritual leaders to move to Hollywood in order to influence the growing movie producing industry. The letter alleged that Christian leaders merely scoffed at the letter and wanted nothing to do with the great evil of producing wicked films.

So what happens when Christians don’t stand in the gap? What happens when Christians say that everything in this world is just going to burn when Jesus comes back anyway, and then neglect the institutions and influence centers of this world?

Someone will occupy that territory! If not the Lovers of Jesus than who? Well… Those who don’t know Jesus will!

I recently heard a message in a church about how the antichrist is ready to take over and the one-world-government is almost here. Once again I was assured that now is the end of the world! One father asked with anguish “what about my children and their future?”

What about his children? What about their future? What will his children do if they are taught that it is most certainly the end of the world?

What they won’t do is try to make a difference in the world, except for trying to “get people saved.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in a time that looked like the end of the world. A madman was running his country and trying to take over the world. This madman was slaughtering Jews by the millions. The world was in a state of war and chaos. Bonhoeffer himself ended up dying in prison shortly before the end of the war.

Yet Bonhoeffer saw an optimistic future for mankind, both eternally and on earth now. He wrote in a letter to his “family and co-conspirators” the following words:

It is wiser to be pessimistic; it is a way of avoiding disappointment and ridicule, and so wise people condemn optimism. The essence of optimism is not its views of the present, but the fact that is is the inspiration of life and hope when others give in; it enables persons to hold their heads high when everything seems to be going wrong; it gives them strength to sustain reverses and yet claim the future for themselves instead of abandoning it to their opponents. It is true that there is a silly, cowardly kind of optimism, which we must condemn. But the optimism that is willing for the future should never be despised, even if it is proved wrong a hundred times; it is health and vitality, and the sick person has no business to impugn it. There are people who regard it as frivolous, and some Christians think it impious for anyone to hope and prepare for a better earthly future. They think that the meaning of present events is chaos, disorder and catastrophe; and in resignation or pious escapism they surrender all responsibility for reconstruction and for future generations. It may be that the day of judgment will dawn tomorrow; in that case, we shall gladly stop working for a better future. But not before.”

If anyone had a reason to believe that he was living in the end-times it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer! If anyone had an excuse to cry “it’s the end of the world” and run to the hills, it was him. But instead he chose optimism. He chose hope. He chose to believe that the future could be brighter than today. Brave Man! On this, at least, I want to be like him.

I hope that Christians everywhere involve themselves in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to go into all the world and Preach the Gospel! I hope they also don’t forget to “make disciples of all nations” as well.

Disciple the Nations! Yep. We’re supposed to be engaged in that as well.

So let’s keep the fire and passion for evangelism burning red hot.

But here are some other ways that Christians can make disciples of the nations:

  • By Finding new sources of energy to fuel man’s activities on the earth.
  • By Developing better ways to produce, ship, care for, and deliver quality foods
  • By Leading the way in medical research and development
  • By Teaching young people around the world how to be an entrepreneur.
  • By Creating beautiful art.
  • By Excelling in all kinds of excellent music.
  • By Starting all kinds of sports leagues for youth that are spending too much time on video games (or writing blog posts).
  • By Serving as mayors, council members, school board members, sheriffs, judges, senators, congressman, governors, presidents, and diplomats.
  • By Joining and Beginning idea “think tanks” to solve political problems, water problems, economic development problems, education problems, crime problems, unemployment problems and all other kinds of problems from a Biblical Christian Worldview Perspective.
  • By Helping and Loving the people around about in practical ways.
  • By Writing thrilling and exhilarating stories, novels, and poems about everything pure, holy, just, encouraging, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

I wonder what happened to the people of America who once filled their hearts with thoughts like:

“O beautiful for patriots’ dream that sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears! America…”

I’ve been having a rough time as of late. My dreams didn’t happen the way I thought they would. In the last several years a couple of very key relationships to me entered some very painful stages. People came into power in my country that are trying to enact policies that will destroy my country. I was (and am) very directly impacted by the economic fears that are plaguing almost everyone. More fear and less faith equals less funds in real ways for me!

So here is the question. Can I be a patriot who sees beyond the years? Better yet, can I be a Lover of God and a Passionate Follower of Jesus Christ who can see the glorious future that God has for all of His people and then put my hands to the plow to “salt, light, and yeast” that Kingdom into eternity, as well as into the natural world around me? In short, can I maintain a Godly optimism even if all my natural circumstances seem to say nothing good could be in the future?

Here is my answer: When I see Jesus returning in the sky (or when I die, whichever comes first), on that day I will stop dreaming about a bright and glorious future here on planet earth. But I will not stop dreaming before then.

So friends, let’s turn the world upside down in the Name of Jesus Christ!

What is the Future of Christianity on Earth?

What is the Future of Christianity on Earth?

When you think of the future of Christianity, do you see a horrible end of time, or a glorious victory of the church?

Tom at Tom’s Journal had this to say:

Is earth a hopeless place that
Christians should neglect
because “it’s all going to burn anyway?”

The few camps that fight and quarrel about, Pre- Trib, Post-Trib, Mid Trib, etc, seems like a childish grade school game played at recess. I have out grown that goofy stuff. As my wife and I attended the Baptist church in our small town, I asked some older brothers about this stuff about Left Behind, etc., and they agreed with me that we THINK that we shall be Raptured up BEFORE the Great Tribulation. But if it doesn’t happen that way– we are still servants and followers of Jesus Christ and will obey and worship Him forever! Duh…. I simple don’t have the time or space to express every word, idea and scripture that it took me 30 some years to absorb. I know how to be SAVED and can explain and share that great thing with any of my readers… and that means your ever lasting life!
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This was my response over at his blog:

Does God have a bright future
for His Bride on earth?

Hi Tom!

I can certainly relate to the whole “why sweat the small stuff” idea.

I also think that anyone who is a brother or sister in Christ remains so even if we see some things differently. If we are disagreeing, we should remember that it is in the family! 🙂

I used to tell people I was “Pan-Trib” (It’ll all “pan out” in the end.) 🙂

However, I always questioned some of the basic stuff that I was taught about the end times when I was very young. As I have grown the questions have gotten louder and louder in my head and heart.

I began to observe that Christians in general seemed so convinced that everything was going down hill until Jesus returned that they were almost “self-fulfilling” the going down hill part by neglecting their duty to promote revival and reform in the world.

If we are so convinced that there is no hope for society, we’ll just sit back and let it burn.

I submit that this is not consistent with the Character of God.

Of course, I cannot go into the details here (you may find lots of details over at American Vision).

A different way of viewing “the end times” and the second coming of Christ has been unfolding in my life for quite some time. I read about an ever increasing Kingdom of God in the book of Daniel (Daniel 2:29-45). I am taught by Jesus to pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done, on earth as it is in heaven! (Matthew 6:9-15)”

I have begun to see a picture of a victorious church being salt, light, and yeast into every area of human life. Starting with salvation, but flowing out into art, science, law, history, labor, creativity, love, etc.

God gave us dominion over everything in the earth.

My “pan-trib” philosophy did not stand up. Our view of the end times does matter (not in the “salvific” sense). It motivates us either to withdraw from or engage and conquer (with humility) societies issues.

I submit that it would be well worth your time to carefully investigate some of the stuff that Gary Demar and company over at American Vision are teaching.

Whatever you do, brothers and sisters in Christ remain brothers and sisters in Christ!

God Bless Your Socks Off!