Hebrews 5:12-14 (KJV) "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
The Bible says that one of the signs of the end times will be people who will mock Bible prophecy.
On our television program, Christ in Prophecy, our guest Jan Markell made a shocking presentation concerning Christian mockery of end time Bible prophecy. Jan is a Messianic Jew who is the founder and spokesperson for Olive Tree Ministries in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. She has a weekly radio program called Understanding the Times that is carried on over 800 radio stations located all across our nation.
Pastoral Rejection of Bible Prophecy
Jan Markell: I have a burden for the Church. But, the Church has compromised. Christ died for His Church. We know He loves it. It's just probably in the years and decades that have gone by it has been a little more healthy than it is today.
So, how did the Blessed Hope become the blasted hope? How and why is there such an attack on the greatest message, contained in one-third of the Bible no less, that the King is coming again? How did this happen?
To kind of fully reveal this, I'm going to have to name some names. Some of you may not be fully happy with all the names I name. In the interest of time I've cut my list down a little bit here. Let's go through it really quickly.
Let's consider the following questions: How did this happen? When did it happen? And, who let it happen? How did the greatest news in the Bible become to some last days madness? How is it that Christians are calling Bible prophecy a last days madness?
Tom Hughes is the pastor of Calvary Chapel 412 Church in San Jacinto, California. He wrote an article recently that summed up brilliantly why the Church now rejects Bible prophecy. These are his opinions, but I certainly agree with each and every one of them.
Number one, Tom Hughes feels pastors don't understand Bible prophecy. Perhaps their seminary didn't train them to deal with Eschatology.
Number two, Tom feels that pastors fear offending members. They fear offending those attending their church. Can you imagine that the greatest news that Jesus Christ is coming perhaps today could possibly offend someone? But, in some cases, it in fact does. So, pastors don't want to scare away people. Sure, if we look at some of the headlines today they certainly can appear a bit foreboding. Church leadership worries they might lose ties if they talk about the end times. And, if you've got a building program that's going to take ten years to accomplish, and you're saying the Lord is coming back tomorrow, well that doesn't encourage your congregation to give to the project.
A third of Tom's opinions is that Christians worry they might be identified with the loony fringe. Certainly, there has been a loony fringe. Just look at Harold Camping and the other date setters. Christians don't want to be aligned with kooks, and I don't blame them. I don't blame them at all.
These are three of Tom's opinions. And, frankly, I agree with them, having ministered in churches for a long time.
A Decline in Dispensationalism
Another reason I believe the teaching of Bible prophecy has declined is that there is a decline in a belief in Dispensationalism. When I was growing up as a teenager to my 20's, pretty much every evangelical church believed in Dispensationalism. They taught the verses that distinguish between the Church and Israel. We believed in a literal Rapture, a literal Tribulation, a literal Antichrist, the Millennium, and the literal Second Coming. But, since then, there has been a decline in Dispensationalist teachings.
Sure, the timing of the Rapture was hotly debated, but afterwards we still could be friends. Its hard if you don't believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture, but we can still be friends. We can debate and not divide over some of these secondary doctrinal issues. Other issues concern the emphasis on Israel's end time role, and that the Tribulation is primarily for Israel and then for the pagan world to shake them up to see Christ.
These basics of Dispensationalism were once widely taught, but now there's a declining interest in the Church concerning this theology. They've been replaced by some destructive theologies. Honestly, I could write an encyclopedia on all the destructive theologies that have come into our churches.
For instance, Amillennialism has returned. Amillennialism is very old, and it takes nothing in the Bible literally. It doesn't provide any favorable impression of Israel's end time role.
Also, the Kingdom Now, or Dominionism, has also come back onto the scene. This teaches that if we work hard enough and provide enough social justice programs that we can make the world perfect. How's that working out? That'd take 20 trillion years for the Church to make the world perfect!
Then there's Preterism. How can anybody possibly believe that all of Bible prophecy happened back in 70 AD? We missed it? We missed it! It all happened long ago. It's all history! That's what Preterists believe.
Another destructive theology that is crowding out Dispensationalism would be Replacement Theology. This errant doctrine teaches that the Church is the new Israel. This terrible view is even working its way into once extremely solid denominations and churches.
Then there's Christian Palestinianism. This teaching deserves a message all on its own. Remember Yasser Arafat being lowered from a helicopter to the top of the Church of the Nativity back in 2004? A belief of Christian Palestinianism is that Jesus was a Palestinian and He wasn't even Jewish. Therefore, Christians should celebrate the Palestinian people. What?! There's no such thing as a Palestinian! Even though there's no such thing as a Palestinian race or people, none the less, support for Christian Palestinianism has been steadily creeping into our churches, and some of them that were once sound.
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