Category Archives: Kingdom of God

The Charge of Replacement Theology is a Cover for Fuzzy Theology

Joseph Farah of WND (WorldNetDaily) has written the following in an article titled “To those Israel-rejecting Christians. . .”:

“[A]n evil doctrine known as Replacement Theology, every bit as ugly as Liberation Theology, has taken root in the church. I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got to discard or allegorize much of the Bible to adopt either one of these views and still call yourself a Christian.”

Here’s a challenge, Joseph. Set up a debate with Joel Rosenberg and me on the meaning of Ezekiel 38 and 39 to see who “allegorizes.” Like the “Replacement Theology” straw man, someone who does not agree with the modern-day, end-time approach to Bible prophecy is labelled an “allegorizer.”

Replacement Theology is defined as the belief that the Church has replaced Israel and that God is finished with the Jews read rest of article

The Church & Israel according to the New Testament

According to Keith Mathison;

“One of the most common questions asked by students of the Bible concerns the relationship between Israel and the church. We read the Old Testament, and it is evident that most of it concerns the story of Israel. From Jacob to the exile, the people of God is Israel, and Israel is the people of God. Despite the constant sin of king and people leading to the judgment of exile, the prophets look beyond this judgment with hope to a time of restoration for Israel. When we turn to the New Testament, the same story continues, and Israel is still in the picture. Jesus is described as the one who will be given “the throne of his father David” and the one who “will reign over the house of Jacob [Israel] forever” (Luke 1:32–33). He is presented as the One the prophets foresaw.

The first to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah are Israelites— Andrew, Peter, James, John. But in the Gospels, we also hear Jesus speak of building His church, and we see growing hostility between the leaders of Israel and Jesus. We hear Jesus speak of destroying the tenants of the vineyard and giving it to others (Luke 20:9–18). In the book of Acts, the spread of the gospel to the Samaritans and Gentiles leads to even more conflict with the religious leaders of Israel. So, is Israel cast aside and replaced by this new entity known as the “church”?

There are those who would say yes, but the answer is not that simple read rest of article

All Things Under His Feet

For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:27–28).

This section begins with a quotation from Psalm 8:6, and the citation is applied to Christ. But if we look at Psalm 8 generally, and see how it is quoted in Hebrews, we know that the psalm is about mankind and, as the New Testament teaches us, about the new mankind in Christ. This treatment needs to be quoted at length.

For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:5–9).

The world to come is not subjected to angels, but rather to man—even though the psalmist wonders at how kind God has been to man. Man was initially lower than the angels, but has now been promoted past the angels. All things on earth in principle have therefore been subjected to man, but it has to be man in Christ. This happens gradually—we do not yet see all things subject to man. But we do see Jesus, made lower than the angels for a time, but now exalted to the right hand of the Father. Because Jesus has been exalted in this way, we know that all enemies of Christ will be gradually subdued through the power of the gospel, from tornadoes to thistles, from cancer to crabgrass.

Putting it all together, this means that everything will be brought under the dominion of mankind, but it must be mankind in Christ. Apart from Christ, we can only make things worse.

So Christ has been seated at the right hand of the Father, and there He will remain until all his enemies are His footstool (Ps. 110:1). The one exception is the last standing enemy of death, which will be overthrown at Christ’s coming in the general resurrection of the dead. Circling back around to our passage in 1 Corinthians, everything is subjected to Christ with the obvious exception of the one who is subjecting everything to Christ—which is the Father—and so it will be that the entire cosmos will be subjected to Jesus, and He will be subjected to His Father. Why? So that God may be all in everything.

-from Doug Wilson’s blog Blog and Mablog

What is the Gospel?

From Michael Williams, author of one of my top 10 favorites, Far as the Curse is Found;

What is the gospel? It seems like such a simple question. After all, the gospel is at the heart of the Christian faith. The “gospel” is what Christians believe. It is the “gospel” that saves. Yet after years of asking my Freshman Bible classes this very question and receiving no quick reply, I realize that defining the gospel is sometimes confusing even for Christians. read rest of article

Optimistic About History

Doug Wilson is a pastor in Moscow, Idaho, a prolific writer and articulate defender of an optimistic eschatology.  Yes, he is an American Christian who actually believes the Bible says the world will get better, in history, before Christ returns.

The following are some admittedly disjointed comments from one article in his blog, but they give you a taste of his passion for the subject.

“Before I became postmillennial, I noticed something odd, and since then, some of the oddities seem even more so. Some of the most cogent cultural criticism I have ever read has come from postmillennialists, who described in excruciating and exact detail how and why our culture is falling apart. And yet, back in the day, there were pessimistic dispensationalists, those who specialized in understanding how this world is supposed to be falling apart, and yet who were pointing to culprits like the antichrist bar codes at Safeway. Why was that? …

I am an evangelical, the son of evangelicals. And while I know that my optimistic eschatology is not the majority report among evangelicals, I also know that testimonies are common enough fare. So here is my testimony. This is how postmillennialism happened to me.

… when David Chilton’s Paradise Restored came out, I decided to read it. This was late in 1985. As I was reading, I thought his hermeneutic was entertaining, but fluffy. This was me reading, recall, as an eschatological agnostic. When it came to the second coming, I didn’t think anything, except that it was going to happen sometime, somehow.

While I was reading, something happened that seemed to me largely independent of the case Chilton was making. He quoted 1 Cor. 15:25, and when I read those words, it was as though something snapped in my head. “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” I can hear my premillennial friends saying that something snapped in my head, all right, but bear with me. I am simply reporting what happened.

Jesus was in Heaven now, and He was reigning from there. He was going to continue to reign from that place until all His enemies here were subdued. All enemies, with the exception of the last enemy, death, were going to be subdued while Christ was still in Heaven. When He returned, He was going to destroy that one, remaining enemy. In the other systems, when Jesus returns, the first enemy to be destroyed is death.

When that verse snapped, like a dry twig, an eschatological paradigm fluttered together in my mind, like some kind of eschatological transformer-bot. Verses from all over crowded to line up together, hand-in-hand, and it was orderly, and amazing, and textual. The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand UNTIL . . .

… I recall one time saying to him (his son-in-law) that I had not preached on postmillennialism since he had gotten to Moscow. He replied, as an expert witness, that I didn’t have to — it pervades everything. It gets into everything. It becomes the context of everything.

… when postmillennialists get the blues, they do it in a historical comedy, not a historical tragedy. And this why you are set free in your approach to trenchant cultural criticism. In the long run, stupidity never works …

And last. None of this is offered as a strident defense of any detailed system. Gary North once helpfully distinguished the only two real eschatologies — pessimillennialism and optimillenialism. I am the later, of course, because postmillennialists have to be, by definition. Most premills and most amills happen to be pessimistic about the course of human history, but while this is the prevailing sentiment, it is not logically necessary. There are optimillennialists who are amill, and there are also some who are premill. Take Spurgeon, for example. He was thoroughly premill, but an optimillennialist nonetheless.

So, speaking as an optimillennialist, I look forward to the time when advocates of the other systems keep their systems, but join us in our joy.”

Catholic Church v. Communists

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, those the Catholic Church considered irreconcilable enemies, America considered acceptable, and the American Government protected.  The Catholic Church cut Communists out of its institution, while the American Government protected it from getting cut out of its institution.

Which was the better?

Date:  13 July, 1949 > Catholics in the Communist Party are Excommunicated by Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII excommunicates all Catholics who are also members of the Communist Party.  According to the order, all Catholics “who make profession of the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrine of the Communists” are excommunicated.

This is the most sweeping excommunication order ever issued by the Roman Catholic Church and was written up by the Holy Office, originally known as the Inquisition and later called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The full decree says:

“This Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office has been asked:

  1. Whether it is lawful to enlist in, or show favor to, the Communist Party;
  2. Whether it is lawful to publish, read, or disseminate books, newspapers, periodicals, or leaflets in support of Communist doctrine and practice, or write in them any article;
  3. Whether Catholics who, knowingly and freely, take actions as specified in Nos. 1 and 2 above, may be admitted to the Sacraments;
  4. Whether Catholics who profess, and particularly those who defend and spread, the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrine of the Communists, Ipso facto, as apostates from the Catholic faith, incur excommunication.

The questions are answered as follows: No. 1, No 2, and No 3 in the negative; No. 4 in the affirmative.”

One Catholic Church representative says:

“Fellow-travelers and sympathizers who support the Communist programme and propaganda are automatically included in the excommunication.”

Only a few years later Joseph McCarthy pursued Communists in the American Government, particularly in the State Department, and in Hollywood.  McCarthy was vilified and in effect cut out of public life by the media onslaught against his actions to cut Communists out of American Government.

Growing up in a Protestant church I heard of the dreaded “excommunications” of the Catholic Church, and how antiquated and positively medieval they were.  But in its 1949 excommunication of Communists we see the gracious hand in this otherwise harsh sounding concept.

If the Russian and Chinese governments had excommunicated Communists from their ranks it would have saved over 100,000,000 lives that communism later took in their countries.

If American had excommunicated Communists from its ranks in the early 1950s it would have nipped in the bud the cultural revolution communism has brought over the last 50 years, with its legacy of divorce, higher taxes, dwindling prosperity, corrupt media and government, and separation of religion and morals from public life.

I have the feeling we are only at the tip of the iceberg of seeing what toll Communists will exact on the American people in the end.

 

The Parable of the Sower

This particular parable intrigues me because the four grounds the seeds fell on describe how Christians reap the Word that were sown to them.  If the Word is Christ and he was at one time sown into our lives, we must ask how does He fit into our lives today?

Jesus explained to the large crowd – 

14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:14-20)

It is never too late to get on the good soil, and to advance the Kingdom on a ground where it can bear much fruit.  Our Lord is giving us this opportunity now!!

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matt 7:24) 

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  (Matt 7:26)