Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Denominational Barriers?

I do not normally read the SBC blog. However, this evening I stopped by to check it out. This particular post, Baptists? Methodists? Presbyterians? Charismatics?, caught my eye. The article opens with this.
Something that I’ve been observing for quite some time now, and especially here lately, is that a lot of people, who belong to Baptist Churches, could join a Church of another denomination and couldn’t tell any difference. I can’t tell you of the people that I have heard say things like…"Well, there’s not that much difference between us Baptists and the Methodists, right?” (I can't legally post this image so click here)
Now I do not know the theology of David Worley in particluar. I find it interesting amidst the anything goes to get professions and baptisms SBC that someone would care about such things. I mean really. Recently, Ergun Caner said that Dr. White's debates with Muslims are like a Jerry Springer show while ignoring the fact that he has been tazered in chapel to get the youth excited. So when methodologies and revivalistic methods within SBC churches mimics that of a methodist church or a pentecostal church, should people within an SBC church know that there are denominational differences?

Worley goes on to explain the things that he sees to differentiate baptists from other denominations.
How can you not believe that things like eternal security, autonomy of the local Church, Believer’s baptism by immersion, priesthood of all believers, salvation by grace through faith, and all the other doctrines that we hold dear–as God’s Word spells it out for us–are not worth holding onto?
I remember several years ago, while sitting in a Baptist church, watching a former methodist candidate for a pastoral position. Only one older woman, who was probably seen as annoying, asked the obvious question, "Don't you have to be a Baptist to be able to be a Baptist Pastor?"

The response was interesting, but typical. One couple looked at me and said the very thing Worley decries in the first quote, "Why does it matter. We are all just Christians."

Although Worley offers some important points such as salvation by grace through faith and priesthood of all believers, don't Methodists and Presbyterians believe that as well? He offers two significant differences with other denominations, Credo-Baptism and Eternal Security. Yet again, on a fundamental level, why are these really different? I do not know Worley's theology, but if the SBC as a whole is going to shun the Reformed/Calvnistic branch within her midst, if the SBC as a whole is going to continue in their understanding of some kind of autonomous freewill of man and an understanding of grace that sides with the doctrine of Prevenient Grace (just as the Methodists do), then on a fundamental level there is simply no basis for eternal security. I would also submit that the typical SBC view also denies the very basis for a consistent Credo-Baptism position (eg: if we may dispense with the Regulative Principle of Worship and allow "altar calls" then why is it wrong for Presbyterians to baptize children?).

The fact is, if one takes the time to read the statements of faith in almost any church, there really is no difference among denominations. For people who constantly decry that we should all just get along, why decry the differences?

Denominational differences are important. That is why I am standing in the Reformed Baptist camp. Theology does matter. He states toward the end,
BFM2000 is what we believe the Bible clearly teaches
I wonder if he realizes that the BFM was written by Calvinistic/Covenantal Baptists. Is he even concerned that most SBC churches have departed from the Creeds of the past such as the Philadelphia Confession?

In conclusion, I agree with Worley that there is a problem among SBC members and pastors as to their ignorance on this issue. I would submit, however, that this stems from a poor theological understanding of man and the all sufficient grace of God. Once salvation becomes centered upon man's autonomous free will, then the other issues simply flow from out of this view.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interview With M. Night Shyamalan

A couple of years ago, my older son received The Last Air Bender, Book II, for Christmas. This evening, while my older son was out, my 3-year-old asked if he could watch one of the videos from this Book II collection of DVDs. So I get the set down off the shelf and open it up.

"Which one would you like to watch?", I ask.

Of course, as providence would have it, he asks for the last disc in the set. It is the disc with special stuff on it. So I place it in the player and up comes the menu. One of the choices is an interview with the makers and M. Night Shyamalan. So I clicked on it, and here was the interview.

I find it strange that my son had this the whole time, and we totally missed it. If it were not for the advertisement during the Superbowl, I'd probably still be clueless.

Anyway, as a parent, I have had the pleasure of watching this excellent cartoon series. Having kids sure pays off in different ways. I am definitely looking forward to the Trilogy. If you're not a parent, would like to watch this series but feel embarrassed, just go to the store and pretend you are buying this for you nephews and nieces or even your neighbor's kids. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jacob Sings John Williams Medley

My 3-year-old wanted to watch some of the vacation videos. I had forgotten about these two. Apparently, he had been watching this video and decided to sing it while leaving the Mount Rushmore site.

Here is Jacob's version.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Conservatives see the world in black and white, and it isn't.
Well, ignorant ol' me decided to finally finish a movie I had never even heard of before, Tears of the Sun, with Bruce Willis. What I find ironic is that the movie asks the exact same questions I had asked during Scott Roeder's murder trial of abortionist, George Tiller.

You may read a summary of the movie here. The main character, A.K. Waters, played by Bruce Willis must decide whether or not he is going to engage the bad guys, kill rebel soldiers, place his military crew in harm's way, and ultimately saving the lives of the innocent.

Throughout the movie, it is clear that A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) hears from both sides from the "black and white" perspective. His commander tells him he is wrong and is to only accomplish the mission he was sent in for. His doctor friend tells him he was right for having defended the refugees and killing the bad guys. The only person that seems to understand that this is not "black and white" is Waters, and it is very clear that he struggles with his decision even after saving many lives.

Although one might get the impression Waters didn't want to get involved or that Waters may have felt it was wrong to kill the bad guys, I do not think that was the case at all. My interpretation is simple. Waters knows he is playing God and fears he has crossed the line. Was he appointed by God to defend the villagers and refugees? The answer was obviously "no". But should he defend innocent people from being savagely brutalized at some level? If he does, will his work actually make things worse in the long run on a national scene?

In what appears to be an unrelated real life situation as reported at, Scott Roeder's trial should have been "black and white".
A trial that should have been a straightforward reinforcement that murder is the deliberate taking of human life instead will be remembered in part as the forum for justifying why a person's life can be sacrificed to save a fetus.
Although this sounds just so easy, it is simply not accurate. Roeder was not sacrificing George Tiller for a fetus, and the judge saw that all too clearly. Roeder's testimony throughout his entire trial had been nothing of the sort. The parallels between Bruce Willis' character and Roeder's real life experience should not be overlooked. As the summary starts,
Navy SEAL Lieutenant A.K. Waters and his elite squadron of tactical specialists are forced to choose between their duty and their humanity, between following orders by ignoring the conflict that surrounds them, or finding the courage to follow their conscience and protect a group of innocent refugees.
So while I get labeled the mean guy that doesn't bother to think or research, I find it interesting that I asked the exact questions Director, Antoine Fuqua, asked throughout the movie. I would even suggest that a Kansas Judge saw the same thing. But political correctness made certain these questions would not see the light of day. Meanwhile, Scott Roeder, right or wrong, will sit in prison for the rest of his life for exactly what this movie seeks to explore.

My disclaimer. I think Scott Roeder was wrong, but not for the overly simple "black and white" reasons often stated for News Media. Although there are many parallels, there are also several key differences, which have been discussed here in the past. So I am in no way endorsing Scott Roeder's actions. Nor am I saying his breaking of the law should go unpunished.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Buchanan: Justification in the Romish Church After the Reformation

If you didn't know better, James Buchanan's fifth lecture, History of the Doctrine in the Romish Church After the Reformation, could easily be mistaken for a rebuttal to the modern Ecumenical movement between Protestants and Roman Catholics of the last couple of decades. Buchanan ably demonstrates that the initial argument between Rome and the Protestants is very clear. He states on page 142,
This is the radical error; for the whole question between the Popish and Protestant Churches lies here: Are we justified by our own righteousness, or by the righteousness of Christ? by a righteousness infused and inherent, or by a righteousness imputed, which is not in us, but in Him?
But then something changed. The Protestant movement was becoming too big to handle. On page 135, Buchanan refers to Luther,
Luther, marking this sudden change, could hardly restrain his indignant sarcasm, and exclaimed, 'Popish writers pretend that they have always taught, what we now teach, concerning faith and good works, and that they are unjustly accused of the contrary: thus the wolf puts on the sheep's skin till he gains admission into the fold.'
Just as in the modern Ecumenical movement of the 1990s-2000s, the desire to reconcile overrides reality and language becomes the weapon. From page 136 Buchanan reminds us of the Diet of Ratisbon.
We learn another lesson from what occurred at the Diet of Ratisbon. It shows the possibility of appearing to concede almost everything, while one point is reserved, or wrapped up in ambiguous language, which is found afterwards sufficient to neutralize every concession, and to leave the parties as much at variance as before.
On page 138 Buchanan writes,
The double policy of the Romish Church, so strikingly exhibited at Ratisbon,--in first rejecting the Protestant doctrine of Justification as an unauthorized and dangerous 'novelty,' and afterwards claiming it, in their own sense, as a truth which they had always held and taught,--was pursued in several successive diets of the Empire.
Of course we know from history that the Council of Trent was convened for over almost two decades to respond to the Reformers. It is often interesting to see many in the Modern Ecumenical movement to be surprised at Trent's language and it's promotion of Grace through faith. However, this is the beauty of ambiguous language. On page 139 Buchanan notes,
Their deliberations on this subject were held in their sixth session, 1547, and resulted in sixteen decrees, setting forth the doctrine of the church, and thirty-three canons, denouncing the errors which are opposed to it.
Even though the supposed errors of the Reformers were denounced at Trent, Buchanan goes on to note on page 143 what he explains as Old verses New Popery,
But it is a still more instructive fact, that even in Protestant countries, the priesthood have made use of two distinct sets of books,--the one containing Old Popery undiluted, and consisting of catechisms and books of devotion,--such as 'The Sacred Heart of Jesus,' or 'The Angelical Exercise,' designed for the edification of the ruder part of their flocks;--the other intended for the better educated class of their own communion, but still more, perhaps, for their Protestant neighbors, in which all the grosser features of Popery are concealed, or softened down, or colored over, and all its distinctive doctrines kept in the background, or explained away.
I have personally experienced this last paragraph time and time again. Ask a recent convert to Roman Catholicism if he has prayed to Mary or paid for indulgences to escape purgatory. You may find the response a bit squeamish. What is worse, you will find the Gospel to be lost in ambiguous terminology as he notes on page 149,
It is true that the church of Rome has always held some important doctrines of Scripture, and that these, applied by the Spirit of God, may have produced in some within her pale saving conversion to God; but it is equally true, that the whole subject of the method and ground of a sinner's justification has been so obscured and corrupted by her teaching, that in proportion as men became thoroughly imbued with her peculiar lessons, they were just so much the less likely to have recourse to Christ alone for salvation.
Many times I have been asked if I believe all Roman Catholics are going to hell. I agree with Buchanan on the same page.
Do we then deny the possibility of pardon and acceptance with God within the church of Rome? God forbid! What we deny is, that any sinner was ever justified, there or elsewhere, by his own righteousness; and we reject the Romish doctrine of Justification, as having a tendency to lead men to rely on their own works, rather than on the finished work of Christ.
Buchanan concludes with a citation of Luther.
If no flesh be justified by the works of the law of God, much less shall nay be justified by the rule of Benedict, Francis, or Augustine, in the which there is not one jot of true faith in Christ.... But some there were whom God called by the text of the Gospel and by baptism. These walked in simplicity, and humbleness of heart, thinking the monks and friars, and such only as were anointed of the bishops, to be religious and holy, and themselves to be profane and secular, and not worthy to be compared to them. Wherefore, they finding in themselves no good works, to set against the wrath and judgment of God, did fly to the death and passion of Christ, and were saved in this simplicity.
In conclusion, this chapter demonstrates that history repeats itself. Modern Evangelicals would do well to know that Christianity did not start with their parents or the day they were born or even with Billy Graham. We would also do well to set aside our passions to save the culture as a first priority. Thereby escaping the error of teaming up with those of opposing faiths and purposely obscuring the Gospel as the defining glue which defines and binds the church of Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Elton John: Jesus Was Gay

This kind of stuff is so sad that if you didn't laugh, you'd cry. According to The Sun Uk, Elton John believes Jesus was gay.
Elton, 62, declares as he pours out his heart to a magazine: "I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems."

He adds: "Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East - you're as good as dead."

Now I have to wonder if people really believe this kind of thing. I mean if we are going to say the New Testament record is not accurate and is full of myths, then anything we say about Jesus is pure speculation. Based upon this radical skepticism about the text, if Elton John were consistent, he can no more say Jesus was gay as opposed to what he laments about "gay women". Perhaps Jesus was a cruel gay women hater.

In other words, if we are going to accuse politically conservative Christians as using Jesus to promote their politics and cry foul when they do, then this is simply using the political Jesus figure in reverse and is equally wrong. Of course, both sides have been doing this for a long time. This is nothing new.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Alito vs Obama

Here is yet another example of the Media using polls to advance a story that they made up. In this Yahoo News story we are told that Americans are against the recent Supreme Court's decision.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that the vast majority of Americans are vehemently opposed to a recent Supreme Court ruling that opens the door for foreign and domestic corporations, labor unions, and other organizations to spend money directly from their general funds to influence campaigns.
Now I have read the main introduction to the decision. Either I have missed the fact that this recent decision actually allows foreign corporations to influence our political campaigns, or the poll misrepresents the decision by asking certain questions in such a way as to make the polled think that the recent court's decision does allow this. In my experience, the answer is obvious.

News reports from President Obama's State of the Union address say that Justice Alito mouthed "not true" when President Obama made this exact charge. So again, assuming Alito did this, then either Obama is wrong or Alito is wrong.

I'll put it this way. If I had to bet my pay check on this, I would put every penny on Alito. Perhaps someone could show me where in this decision that allows foreign corporations to influence our campaigns? Polls are nothing but a trick to advance one's agenda. And the Mainstream Media is nothing but an extension of the Democratic party.

But the story goes on to cite Conservatism's favorite Republican, Senator McCain.
McCain told CBS's "Face the Nation" that there would be a "backlash" once awareness grew about "the amounts of union and corporate money that's going to go into political campaigns."
Oh, save us McCain. Save us from money being in politics. What a joke. The McCain/Feingold Act should have been called the "Keep the incumbents Act". It is ridiculous to think a law will keep money out of politics. The Act simply created a method of controlling how money gets in the process. Now follow the money friend. If you are an elected official, are you really going to pass a law that assists your opponents during a campaign?

McCain stood against term limits because he said it got rid of good people too. What's the difference with campaign finance reform? Did it not restrict good money too? Ahhhh, but term limits would have limited McCain. Better not vote for that!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Swell Seaon: Low Rising

Kuddos to Pastor Paul for linking this video.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Buchanan On Church Fathers

In the third lecture/chapter, Of the Fathers and Scholastic Divines, Buchanan deals with the common Roman Catholic charge that "Justification by grace through faith" was a novelty of the Reformers.

However, Buchanan makes clear what the question is not.
The question, therefore, is not,--Whether all the Fathers taught the doctrine of Justification in its original purity, nor even whether any one of the Fathers was entirely exempt from the corruptions which were gradually growing up in the church; but simply, whether the doctrine of Justification by grace, through faith in the merits of Christ, may not be traced in the writings of some witnesses for the truth, along the whole line of the church's history...[page 78]
He asserts on page 80
It is simply to prove a matter of fact, in opposition to an erroneous assertion,--the fact, namely, that the Protestant doctrine of Justification was not a 'novelty' introduced for the first time by Luther and Calvin,--that it was held and taught, more or less explicitly, by some writers in every successive age...
On page 90, Buchanan deals with the term "merits" and the misunderstanding that grew over the centuries. He offers a definition of how it was used in Augustine's day.
In the general sense, as denoting the obtaining or procuring of something, it was said that we might merit Christ, or merit the Spirit, or merit eternal life; not that we could deserve any one of these inestimable gifts, or that they could ever become due to us in justice,--for this is inconceivable,--but simply that they might thus be procured and enjoyed.
On the next page, 91, Buchanan then deals with Augustine's use of Justification as "wrought both on the state and character of a sinner". It is true that the church has always taught that God both imputes righteousness and infuses righteousness, but the question is not that God does both but how they are related to one another. As Buchanan rightly argues, one is based upon the other. Sanctification flows out from Justification, and not the reverse.

Although there are several pages of citations from several church Fathers, I will end with Buchanan's citation of St. Athanasius.
"Not by these," i.e. by works, says Athanasius, "but by faith, a man is justified as was Abraham."..."In no other manner can there be redemption and grace to Israel and to the Gentiles, except the original sin, which through Adam passed unto all, be loosed. But this, says he (the Apostle) , can be blotted out through no other than through the Son of God."..."It is necessary, therefore, to believe the Holy Scriptures,--to confess Him who is the First-Fruit of us, be struck with wonder at the great dispensation,--to fear not the curse which is from the Law, for 'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law.' Hence the full accomplishment of the Law, which was made through the First-Fruit, is imputed to the whole mass." [page 94]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Doctrine of Justification by James Buchanan

For the last few years, I have been avoiding a book that I sense I really wanted to read but just figured it would be a major project that would require more time than I could devote. The book is slightly over 400 pages with a lengthy appendix. The book is also a compilation of lectures given in 1866. As we all know, people that lived that long ago certainly would not be able to speak the same English that we speak today. Yet just moments ago, I finished the third "lecture", which ended at page 100.

The book, The Doctrine of Justification: An Outline of Its History in the Church and of Its Exposition From Scripture by James Buchanan, is a far easier read than I had anticipated. Now on the one hand if a layman is totally unfamiliar with the doctrine of Justification and the Roman Catholic accusation that the Protestant understanding of it is a "novelty" unknown for 1400 years, then perhaps this may not be the best book to start one's study. Yet for the average layman who enjoys studying or reading about these issues, this book is a must.

The first chapter/lecture is a survey of the doctrine of Justification starting from Genesis chapter 1 and Adam's pre-fall state, all the way to the time of the end of the Hebrew Scriptures. The strength of this chapter is that it avoids the Dispensational error of seeing salvation as being radically different in every age based upon man's response to God. Instead it shows the unity of the covenants and the promises of God in every age/dispensation. In a way, the first chapter is a good approach in teaching Covenant Theology without having to even mention the term.

For instance, when discussing the Mosaic Law on page 37, he states,
The next great era in the History of Justification under the Old Testament was that of Moses, and the proclamation of the Law at Sinai. A new economy was now introduced, which differed in many respects from the Patriarchal system, and yet was designed and fitted, in various ways, to develop God's purpose of mercy, and to carry it on to its accomplishment in the fullness of times. That economy cannot be understood, as it is described and commented on in various parts of Scripture, unless it be contemplated in two distinct aspects: first, as a system of religion and government, designed for the immediate use of the Jews during its continuance; and secondly, as a scheme of preparation for another and better economy, by which it was to be superseded when its temporary purpose had been fulfilled.
This form of argument is needed to be demonstrated since the Apostles in the New Testament heavily rely upon upon the consistent doctrine throughout the Old Testament era. For example, the Apostle Paul's argument that Father Abraham was saved by justification through faith alone in Romans 4 would simply make no sense outside of Covenant Theology.

As time allows, I would like to offer some quotations from the book, especially from the third lecture which deals specifically with the argument that Justification through faith alone and the doctrine of Substitutionary atonement and the doctrine of imputation is merely a Protestant novelty.

To get the book, you may click on the image and purchase it from

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jesus and His Coming Kingdom: Conclusion

So in conclusion, Mr. Ellis and's accusation that Jesus predicted that he would return to judge the world within 40 years is just plain wrong. As Waldron's exegesis demonstrates, the language of Matthew 24 does not require their conclusion, and in fact, demands a different conclusion.

We have also seen that Jesus predicted not only a lengthy delay in His return, but that no one would know the day or hour or be able to set time limits at all.

Jesus purposefully teaches that the Kingdom of God comes in two phases. This has caused what has been called the Now and Not Yet phases of the Kingdom. We see Jesus ruling presently throughout the New Testament. Yet we see the New Testament everywhere teaches that Jesus will rule the world at His Second Coming at the end of the age.

This tension throughout the New Testament also gives us the tension of Jesus' prediction of judgment against National Israel and nations in every generation as opposed to the judgment of all mankind at the end of the age. This is more than a sufficient answer to the charge that the Apostle Paul "expected" Christ to return within his lifetime.

We do not know when our Lord will return. The Christian needs to understand Peter's teaching.
3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [2 Peter 3]

We know that Christ will return just as certainly as He was raised from the dead and as the world was judged at the Flood. We also know that just as men deny the resurrection and the Flood, so they will deny His Second Coming.

This age and life in general have a purpose. The Christian must do as Riddlebarger wrote,
Yet, not knowing the day or the hour when He will come again, we are to live every moment to the fullest, going about our divinely mandated tasks of fulfilling the cultural mandate--marrying, raising families, fulfilling our [secular] callings, and taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
As we wait patiently, we know men will mock and blaspheme the Son of God. Yet the evidence of God's judgment is everywhere. Therefore the Christian should remain firm in the faith until the appointed day.
10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jesus and His Kingdom part 6: Olivet Discourse

Mr. Ellis quotes Infidel:
There are several passages in the gospels where Jesus says he will return in the disciples' lifetime (Mark 13:30, Matthew 10:23, 16:28, 24:34, Luke 21:32, etc.).
Now although there is the Now/Not Yet tension throughout the New Testament, it certainly looks on the surface of things that Jesus apparently contradicts Himself. In this post I will only be dealing with the Matthew 24 passage. Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse:
Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
As usual, the Infidel at overstates his case. We have seen this in the past with the Sabbath issues and dealt with them in other posts on this Blog. What is ironic is that I have already made reference to Sam Waldron's exegesis of this text. But not everyone has struggled with this text in the original Greek because most of us do not know Greek. It has been my experience that quite often, if there is a serious question such as this, the original language may clear up the apparent problem. So once again, here is a portion of Waldron's exegesis.
That there is a contrast intended in these verses is plain from three things high-lighted in these verses. First, the fact that verse 36 begins with the word, but, must not be overlooked. This conjunction in Greek commonly is used to introduced a contrasting thought.

Second, the contrast in the two different demonstrative pronouns used in verses 34 and 36 respectively must not be overlooked. "These" is the immediate demonstrative pronoun used to designate something relatively near at hand. It is appropriately used to describe the relatively near occurrence of all the things associated with the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. It is so used throughout the passage (Matthew 23:36; 24:3,8,33). "That" is the remote demonstrative pronoun used to designate something that is relatively distant. It is appropriately used to designate the day and hour of Christ's coming in glory.

Third, the contrast in the matter of time signs also cannot be overlooked. "This generation" as Murray shows is clearly a reference to the then living generation of Jews. Thus a general time sign is given for the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. When Jesus says that "no one knows" including Himself of the day and hour of His return, there is a plain distinction introduced as to time signs between the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Coming of Christ.
So here is Matthew 24:34-36
34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Waldron makes clear that when Jesus says in verse 36 "but of that day", that there is a break from what must take place in their generation [the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem] with His Final Second Coming in judgment. Therefore, the is just wrong about the meaning of this passage.

Since Sam Waldron is a Baptist, I will also cite from Presbyterian, Kim Riddlebarger's book, A Case For Amillenialism.

After discussing the Temple's destruction Riddlebarger explains,
The questions put to Jesus by His disciples are the key to interpreting the passage correctly. For the disciples, the destruction of the Temple would be such a momentous event that it must mean the end of the age was at hand.

The assumption is clear from the three questions they asked: When will this happen? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age? The way the questions were phrased, the last two questions are clearly linked, the assumption being that the Parousia or the coming of the Lord and the end of the age occur at the same time. Jesus answered their questions but in doing so made plain that the coming destruction of the temple and the city Jerusalem, while connected to God's judgment on Israel, was not the Parousia nor the end of the age.... [page 163]
On page 175 Riddlebarger explains why Jesus gave different signs for both judgments upon national Israel and then the judgment at the end of the age. He states,
The reason Jesus did this was surely intentional. He set forth the tension between signs which precede His coming contrasted with the suddenness of His coming so that His people would live every moment in light of the promise of His coming. Yet, not knowing the day or the hour when He will come again, we are to live every moment to the fullest, going about our divinely mandated tasks of fulfilling the cultural mandate--marrying, raising families, fulfilling our [secular] callings, and taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
In conclusion, there is a contrast and tension with Christ coming in judgment against National Israel and Final Judgment at the end of the age. The language may seem evasive to the unbeliever. It may seem contradictory. But this is purposeful all throughout the New Testament. As Hebrews 1 tells us,
When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
And yet later the same author states in chapter 2:
YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
This is also taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
The language of the New Testament clearly teaches that there is an order and tension as to how the Kingdom of God will be advanced in this age and be consummated at the end of the age.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Jesus and His Kingdom: part 5: When Is He Coming?

I was reminded of another passage of the very strong "doozie" Mr. Ellis refers to in his quote.
...he believed he would return very shortly to rule his kingdom in person. It is also quite obvious that Jesus was wrong about when he was coming back.
The original passage I am familiar with is from Matthew 26 where Jesus interacts with the Sanhedrin.
The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Yet there is a similar idea and apparent contradiction in Matthew 16:
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."[emphasis mine]
Let's deal with the Matthew 16 first. If Jesus really meant to equivocate the Son of Man coming into His kingdom in verse 28 with verse 27 and His entering into His glory at the Final Judgment, then we must see Jesus is speaking incoherently in the same paragraph.

Now I do not approach the text with a radical skepticism. Since the context and culture of Jesus is probably different from my own, then we must keep in mind that the thoughts expressed must be interpreted in that light. Not only do we allow for this kind of thing today when cultures collide and misunderstand each other, we ought to allow for this when dealing with the Bible.

First notice Jesus states, "some who are standing here will not taste death". In context, this ought to contrasted with taking up the cross. Jesus explains here and in Matthew 24:9 that the Disciples would be killed for the sake of the Gospel. He is explaining to them that their lives would be judged at the Last Day when Jesus enters into that position of Final Judgment.

The second difficulty is the meaning of "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom". I believe the idea that is being expressed here is similar to Matthew 26:64. But again, what is that meaning? A few years ago I heard a sermon on Revelation 1:7 on the coming of Christ.
7Look, he is coming with the clouds,
The idea of "coming" is throughout the book of Revelation. Here are some examples.
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

2:5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

2:16Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Rev 3:3 'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
If we do not assume a strict literal approach to Revelation, it can be seen that the coming of Christ throughout the book may very well be Christ visiting every generation. If we keep in mind that Christ visits the earth and in particular His people during this age, a very significant event could explain the meaning of this phrase.

Keeping in mind that Jesus predicted the judgment of Jerusalem within the generation of those currently living, the fall of Jerusalem would have made a huge impact in the lives of that Jewish nation. It would be in that act that Jesus would be known as the One He claimed to be. We see this kind of language throughout the Old Testament as well.

When Israel went through the Red Sea and and God destroyed the armies of the Egyptians in judgment, the entire world feared the Israelites. This did not mean the world became believers or that every single person would have known about the event. The world of that day would now know the judgment of God as it was revealed in those events. In fact, we still speak about the Exodus to this very day, even if we speak about it in an unbelieving manner.
Psa 96:13 Before the LORD, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Isa 23:17 It will come about at the end of seventy years that the LORD will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot's wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.

Dan 7:13 "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
From the reformed A-millennial Christian perspective, Jesus most certainly visited judgment against the nation of Israel. With many of the Disciples having been put to death by AD 70, only those few, who remained alive would have seen the fulfillment in their lifetimes. This would easily explain John's usage of "coming" throughout Revelation and the two passages raised in Matthew.

We must also keep in mind that Matthew is writing to the Jew in order to convince him of Christ as the Messiah. If the passage was written after AD 70, it would be absurd for Matthew to make a prediction that we all know to be false.

As a prediction prior to AD 70, the Sanhedrin in chapter Matthew 26 would have recognized the obvious reference to Daniel's prophecy. The Son of Man would have been seen as one who had authority to judge the nations. When Jesus claimed that they would see His Coming on the clouds, they would have not necessarily heard "Second Coming", but instead would have heard Him correctly. That He would come against their nation and judge them for their rejection of the Son of God. Notice Matthew 11:
20Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
We know from history that Sodom was already judged. Yet there seems to be a future judgment of all the nations. So in conclusion, I would argue that there is both a temporal judgment that occurs now in this age, and one that comes at the Final judgment at the end of the age. This, again, reminds us of Jesus' own teaching of the Now and the Not Yet phases of His kingdom.

But back to the original question. Does the prophecy of Matthew 24 exegetically teach that Jesus really predicted His Second Coming in their lifetimes? In the next post I will cite both Sam Waldron and Kim Riddlebarger.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Jesus and His Kingdom part 4: The Delay stated,
he believed he would return very shortly to rule his kingdom in person
Keeping the Now and Not Yet tension ever before us, this statement is in some sense true and some sense false. Now I know none of this will satisfy Mr. Ellis, who quoted this in a comment section, but again, I thought it would help those who would like to see if there is an answer to this question.

In this post, I want to demonstrate that Jesus taught that there would be a lengthy delay in His return. I will contrast that teaching with the more difficult problem from Matthew 26:63-64 in my next post.

In Jesus' parables on the nature of the Kingdom as recorded in Matthew, we are told quite clearly that there will be a delay in His Second Coming. Again, I refer the reader to the parable of the Wheat and Tares.
37He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Here Jesus tells us that there is a planting time prior to the time of harvest at the end of the age. This planting time teaches that the Kingdom is to expand throughout the entire "world". We have seen in history that the planting time takes just that...time. Not only is there planting time, but both must grow up together until the harvest.

Another example is from Matthew 16 where Jesus teaches about the church in response to Peter's confession.
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Jesus does not explain to us a specific time table, but He does tell us something about His church. He explains that He is going to build His church. As from the preceding context, He is beginning with the Jews and then He will expand to the Gentile world. By building His church in this present evil age, we clearly have an inference that there will be a delay in His Second Coming. In other words, why does Jesus need to give authority to the Apostles to bind and loose unless He planned on being absent from the earth in person?

We also see from Matthew 20 and workers in the Vineyard that there will be a delay.
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
Jesus goes on to explain that there is a full day of finding more and more workers for the field. Jesus is first establishing His church with His disciples. However, this is only the beginning of the day. Each generation has been continuing this work until the field/world is harvested. Therefore, there is a delay in His Second Coming.

In Matthew 21 and the Parable of the Tenants, Jesus says,
33"Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. 34When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
As we see throughout this parable, Jesus will take away the vineyard from the Jewish leaders and give the Kingdom to others, who will do God's will.
41"He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."
Then there is Jesus' teaching on the Wedding Banquet in chapter 22,
1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
To which he later responds,
8"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Since this is a reference to the gathering in of the Gentiles, there is a delay in His Second Coming.

Of course the passage in question, Matthew 24, teaches this extended delay.
6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Here Jesus specifically warns His disciples that prior to their deaths, many will come saying the end is right now. But He explains that there will be a lengthy delay. For nations must rise and fall and Kingdoms will come and go. Therefore, those such as, who would say the end should have come, are in error.

Again, Jesus does tell us that the age of the Gentiles coming into the church causes a severe delay.
14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Now Jesus did not know how long this would take. Nevertheless, there must have been a delay in mind to take into account that Jesus taught that He was going to build His church among every nation and people and tribe and language.

One more piece of evidence I would like to submit from this very discourse.
36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
If we are going to argue that Jesus believed He would return within 40 years, then we must argue that Jesus had set a date. It had to be by AD 70. Yet if Jesus had set a date prior to Ad 71, then Jesus had contradicted Himself in His own discourse. Nobody seemed to notice this? We modernists are just so smart while these ignoramuses were just too stupid to see there own error? This is just modernist arrogance.

Although far more evidence from the rest of the New Testament could be sought, I think it is sufficient to say that if we allow Jesus and His Disciples to explain the nature of the Kingdom of God, and not read into their teaching what we think they should mean, perhaps many of our apprehensions will subside.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Jesus and His Kingdom part 3 Now vs Not Yet

Again the quote from states,
It is quite obvious that Jesus never intended to start any type of church structure since he believed he would return very shortly to rule his kingdom in person. It is also quite obvious that Jesus was wrong about when he was coming back
Now again, this seems to assume that Jesus was attempting to set up some kind of geo-political kingdom in the manner that we see other religions such as Mormonism or perhaps an even better example, Islam. Many within the Dispensational camp also see Jesus coming back to set up an earthly reign in an earthly Jerusalem on David's literal earthly throne. I realize the Post-Millenialists such as Theonomists may make similar claims. However, I think it would be helpful if we allow Jesus to explain the nature of His own Kingdom.

Jesus' Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom, not a geo-political earthly Kingdom. In John 18:36, Jesus tells us,
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
Jesus also tells us in Luke's Gospel that we are not to look for a geo-political Kingdom. Luke 17:
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."
In Matthew 13, Jesus tells us in the Parable of the Sower that the Kingdom is within the heart.
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
How often Christians, including Jesus' own disciples have misunderstood the nature of the road of glory verses the road of the cross. Jesus did not come in the sense Muhammad came. He did not come to "bonk" people over the head. He came to save sinners from this present evil age. Jesus had no desire to keep this passing age as His home as it is recorded in Luke 9:
51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. 54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" 55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."] And they went on to another village. 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
This understanding of Jesus' teaching is quite difficult. In response to John the Baptist's question as to whether or not Jesus was really the Christ, Jesus explains to the Disciples about the nature of His Kingdom in Matthew's Gospel chapter 13. One parable in particular explains a teaching that has been called the Now verses the Not Yet. It is the parable of the Wheat and Tares. The beauty of this parable is that Jesus interprets the parable for us.
37 And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 "Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Jesus tells us very plainly that in this evil age, He has planted His kingdom on this earth. This Kingdom is to exist side by side with evil men. It is not to overthrow governments or be a political institution. It is in fact, the church. The very thing which denies.

So where is this Kingdom? It is wherever the Gospel is proclaimed, the gathering of the saints, the administration of the sacraments/ordinances, and church discipline takes place. The rest of the New Testament simply furthers and expands this teaching.

There is one text that refers to the church as a nation. Peter wrote,

9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Therefore the church is a nation that does not have geo-political borders nor does it exist in a mere earthly sense. The church is made up of men as described in Revelation 5:
with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.
This understanding of the nature of the Kingdom is consistent with Jesus' final words just moments before His ascension when he answers a simple question.
Act 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Jesus is currently ruling and reigning as the Apostles taught in one sense during this age and in a different sense in the age to come. As Peter teaches in the next chapter,
30 "And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32 "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET."' 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."
If we keep this in mind along with other passages that deal with the coming Kingdom, then we must always keep our eye on the ball. There is a tension within the entire New Testament. This tension is on purpose. The Kingdom has in one very limited sense already come. But in another very real sense, it comes at the end of this evil Age.

Jesus also cites His own teaching in Matthew 24 when He speaks of the coming angels at the end of the Age. This is the consummation of all things. This is what Jesus taught about His Second Coming. That first there is a planting time, and then there is a harvest time. Therefore there is a delay between His two Advents. In the next post, we will look at Jesus' teaching on the delay of His Coming.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Jesus and His Kingdom part 2 Prophecy

In this post, I want to set some things right up front and on the table. Different Christians read prophecy differently because of certain presuppositions. Dispensationalism is probably the most dominant eschatological view within Evangelical churches today. Dispensationalism is a reaction to Liberal Theology and seeks to take the bible literally in a manner that could be considered strict literalism. It also sees National Israel as the center of Old Testament prophecy. Therefore there is a separation between Israel and the church and two distinct plans of salvation, one for gentiles and one for Jews.
It is quite obvious that Jesus never intended to start any type of church structure since he believed he would return very shortly to rule his kingdom in person. It is also quite obvious that Jesus was wrong about when he was coming back.
Now I have no idea if the author ever was influenced by the Dispensational understanding that Jesus plans to set up and continue an earthly national theocracy as in David's day, but regardless, this understanding is simply wrong.

On the other hand, I must be fair to my Dispensational friends. Many times in history, including the New England Puritans, non-Dispensationalists had an over realized eschatology. They saw the preaching of the Gospel would lead to a Golden Age of peace. The confusion of separation of church and state easily arises out of this thinking. This, again, misses Jesus' teaching on the nature of the Kingdom. We will look at that in another post.

Prophecy must be carefully read. We know from Old Testament prophecy that two different events can be recorded as if they were one event due to what has been called the "flattened perspective". We also know that symbolism may be used at times.

We also know that prophets did not always understand their own prophecy. We see for example that John the Baptist predicted judgment at Christ's coming. Yet when he finds Himself in Herod's prison, he begins to question his own understanding of the events that are taking place. This is explained by Peter's two statements quoted below. First from 2 Peter 1:
21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
And from 1 Peter 1:
10Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
The Kingdom of God must be considered in light of what the New Testament clearly teaches. The Apostles definitely had a different view from many today, including My own presupposition is that prophecy and the entire Hebrew Scriptures is about Christ. This starting point comes from Jesus Himself, as recorded in Luke 24:
25 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
This is why, on the day of Pentecost, Peter was able to preach that Jesus is already seated on David's throne, ruling and reigning at the right hand of God (see Acts 2). The Kingdom in some sense had already come, and yet will come in its fullness at the consummation at the end of the age.

When we realize that the Kingdom surrounds the Person of Christ and how Christ is accomplishing His purposes, then we may view things in a different manner. Eventually we will get to an exposition of Matthew 24. I realize this has not answered the apparent contradiction yet, but without a proper understanding of the big picture, answering the the original question will be lost in our presuppositions.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Jesus and His Coming Kingdom part 1

Mr. Ellis in one of his comments provided an apparent contradiction within the New Testament that he considers a "doozie". Although I have interacted with this issue before, I think this citation from should probably have its own posts. I also realize that nothing I say will convince anyone. But for those who are Christians and would like to know that there are responses to "doozies", I will make my attempt. Here is the pasted comment.
There are several passages in the gospels where Jesus says he will return in the disciples' lifetime (Mark 13:30, Matthew 10:23, 16:28, 24:34, Luke 21:32, etc.).

The same expectation held during the period the apostle Paul wrote his letters. In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 Paul says that the time is so short that believers should drastically change the way that they live. But Paul had a problem - some believers had died, so what would happen to them when Jesus returned?

Paul's answer in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 shows that Paul expected that at least some of those he was writing to would be alive when Jesus returned - "we who are alive, and remain..." The same passage also indicates that Paul believed that those believers who had died remained "asleep in Jesus" until he returned. However, as the delay in Jesus' return grew longer, the location of Jesus' kingdom shifted from earth to heaven and we later find Paul indicating that when believers die they will immediately "depart and be with Christ" (Philippians 1:23).

It is quite obvious that Jesus never intended to start any type of church structure since he believed he would return very shortly to rule his kingdom in person. It is also quite obvious that Jesus was wrong about when he was coming back
Now there is nothing really new here. does its usual over stating the case. Although, I acknowledge the problem as articulated by Jesus in Matthew 24 in this verse,
Mat 24:34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. [NASB]
I personally think this one is more difficult:
Mat 26:64 Jesus *said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN. [NASB]
In these verses, it seems as though Jesus is predicting His Bodily Second Coming within the generation of those with whom he is speaking. Before, we look at these problems, I need to explain some side issues that may eliminate some further objections down the road. Since I am writing this as I get a chance, I am not certain as to how this will go. I guess we'll get there when we get there.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hillsdale Lectures

Hillsdale College this past Saturday had several lectures on the founding principles of our form of government. The first two principles of the American Revolution and for our form of government that Dr. David J. Bobb, Director, Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, Hillsdale College, references are the ideas that man's nature is the same in every generation and the second is the "laws of nature and nature's God". Watch here.