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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Monday
Apr092007

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgWho Said That?

"Matthew says, that the angel that was sitting upon the stone on the outside of the sepulchre told the two Marys that Christ was risen, and that the women went away quickly. Mark says, that the women, upon seeing the stone rolled away, and wondering at it, went into the sepulchre, and that it was the angel that was sitting within on the right side, that told them so. Luke says, it was the two angels that were standing up; and John says, it was Jesus Christ himself that told it to Mary Magdalene; and that she did not go into the sepulchre, but only stooped down and looked in.

Now, if the writers of these four books had gone into a court of justice to prove an alibi, (for it is of the nature of an alibi that is here attempted to be proved, namely, the absence of a dead body by supernatural means,) and had they given their evidence in the same contradictory manner as it is here given, they would have been in danger of having their ears cropt for perjury, and would have justly deserved it. Yet this is the evidence, and these are the books, that have been imposed upon the world as being given by divine inspiration, and as the unchangeable word of God. "

You know the drill!  Leave your guess in the comments section below! No google searches, please! 

Tuesday
Apr032007

Conference Photos

 

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                                                                                              Photo # 1 -- Ken Jones (from the White Horse Inn), chatting with Dr. Dennis Johnson of Westminster Seminary California.

Photo # 2 -- Dr. Kim Riddlebarger

Photo # 3 -- Dr. Kim Riddlebarger again (hey, it's my blog)

Photo # 4 -- Wideshot of packed-out sanctuary.  Who says amillers don't go to prophecy conferences?

Photo # 5 -- Dr. Steve Baugh from Westminster Seminary California.

Photo # 6 -- Dr. Greg Beale, author of a stellar commentary on The Book of Revelation (Eerdmans)

Photo # 7 -- Drs. Beale and Johnson spar over the mic during the Q & A.

(BTW--thanks to Mike Dees for the photos!)   

Sunday
Apr012007

Wow! What a Conference!

Making Sense of Revelation.jpgOur "Making Sense of The Book of Revelation" conference was completely sold out and a smashing success!  We spent the whole day feasting upon the great themes found in the Book of Revelation with one stellar lecture after another!

It was great to finally meet so many of you (fellow bloggers) and regular commenters!  If you were there, please leave your feedback in the comments section! 

To listen to the conference Q & A, Click here: Christ Reformed Info - MP3's and Real Audio (of Academy Lectures)

CD's of the conference lectures can be ordered here: Click here: Christ Reformed Info - Conference: "Making Sense of Revelation"

Tuesday
Mar272007

Is It Finally Here?

real ID.jpgChristians are having a fit over the "Real ID Card."   To no one's surprise, some are claiming this is the dreaded "mark of the beast."  According to an article on  STLtoday.com (Click here: STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County) . . .

"Several evangelical Christian groups say the federal Real ID Act, which will standardize state drivers licenses and link them to corresponding national ID numbers by 2009, represents the `mark of the beast,' the devilish number 666 that is attached to the godless.  The nearly 2,000-year-old passage is referenced along with the prophetic locusts, plagues, oceans of blood and rivers of fire found in the Bible. Soon after, according to scripture, the antichrist takes control of the world and Jesus Christ returns.  In short, new national ID numbers could spell the beginning of the end, some Christians believe `This is getting treacherously close to prophecy in the scripture,' said Irvin Baxter Jr., founder and president of Endtime Ministries in Dallas.  And some Missouri legislators are listening. Some Christians interpret verses from the book of Revelation that say humans will be `marked … so that no one can buy or sell who does not have that mark' as a prophecy of a global numerical control system to be used by the beast, or antichrist. The number would be used during the Great Tribulation, which some Christians believe will precede the second coming of Jesus. State Rep. Jim Guest, a frequent participant on Baxter's radio show, is sponsoring a bill that would exempt the state from complying with the federal law.  The Missouri House overwhelmingly approved Guest's bill last Thursday, 146-4. It has moved to the Senate for consideration. Guest, a Republican from King City in northeastern Missouri, said his main reservation with the program was its potential for `Big Brother-like' abuses.  `We could be tracked by machines everywhere we go,' said Guest, referring to provisions that require `machine-readable' technology in the ID cards. `This could signal the death of individual freedoms and rights.'"

Christians have worried about social security, credit cards, product ID#'s and bar codes when they were first introduced--rarely ever thinking to ask "just what is the theological significance of the mark?"  Meanwhile, the implications of such cards upon civil liberties should be given careful consideration even apart from end-times nuttiness.  You gotta love the prophecy pundits--sometimes they warn us about the right stuff (the loss of personal liberties) for all the wrong reasons (misunderstanding the Book of Revelation).

Come to think of it, given the crappy rate of return the government gives me back on all that money I paid into social security, that can only be the work of Satan!

Monday
Mar262007

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgWho Said That?

"The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.

2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.

3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

1. That there are three Gods.

2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.

3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.

4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.

5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.

Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian?  He who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus?  Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin?"

OK--leave your guesses in the comments section below.  Please no google searches or cheating.  You need to guess! 

Friday
Mar232007

The Achillies Heel of Islam?

Muslim Women.jpgTwo recent news stories illustrate Islam's public relations problem (exposing its dark side) as it spreads into the West.

In the first report (Click here: The Sun Online - News: Judge gives the OK to wife hit), "The terrified partner, a 26-year-old mum of two, filed for a quickie divorce after her husband hit her and even threatened to kill her. But the judge in Frankfurt, Germany, rejected her application — quoting a Koran verse which some have controversially interpreted to mean a man can beat his wife if she acts in an `unchaste' fashion. A divorce court judge ruled a man was right to beat and abuse his wife — because the Muslim holy book allowed it." 

Can you imagine what will happen if Sharia law is ever tolerated in the West?  And where is the outcry from the supposed champions of women's rights--the political left?  Many on the left actually believe that Falwell, Dobson and the Christian right are the true enemies of women.  The left's silence about Islam is deafening . . .

In the second news story, (Click here: Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view | US News | Reuters.com) "A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.  The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.  In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word `idrib,' traditionally translated as `beat,' which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.  Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book. The passage is generally translated: `And as for those women whose ill will you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!'  Instead, Bakhtiar suggests `Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God.'"

If only feminist theologians do to Islam and the Koran what they've done to the Bible and mainline Protestantism, ironically they'll set Islamic expansion back decades!

Of course, the preaching of the cross is the best means to oppose Islam, but news reports like this along with the rise of feminist scholarship in their midst certainly cannot help the Islamic cause. 

Any thoughts?

Tuesday
Mar202007

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgWho said that?

"You know what happens? [in Revelation] Chapter 20, the Lord sets up His Kingdom. That's right. Look at verse 4, `I saw thrones,' what are they for? Look at the end of verse 4, they're for the saints who lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. You know what happens at the end of the thousand years? Verse 7, Satan is loosed a little while, he's been bound the whole time. He's loosed a little while. He goes out into the world and you know that during the Kingdom there will be some people who went in in physical bodies, they'll have kids, they'll repopulate the earth, they'll be a population all over the earth, some of those won't even believe in Jesus Christ though He's been reigning in the city of Jerusalem for a thousand years."

You know the drill!  Leave your guesses in the comments section below!  No google searches please. 

Friday
Mar162007

Sodom and Gomorrah Were Married????

Bible Knowledge.jpgIt certainly comes as no surprise that people don't know much about Christianity, or even religion in general.  According to a recent USA Today article (Click here: Americans get an 'F' in religion - USATODAY.com), when asked, 50% of high school seniors thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple!  60% couldn't name even five of the Ten Commandments. 

As to the latter, that's actually better than the results White Horse Inn producer, Shane Rosenthal got when he asked these same questions at the Christian Bookseller's convention some years ago.  My guess is that those who could name only some of the commandments, named only "second table" commands, like those prohibiting adultery, theft and murder.  They probably don't know enough about God to know any of the first four commandments.

OK, so we all know this is the case.  Why another article (or post) on this?  The author of a new book addressing the topic of the general ignorance of religion in America (Stephen Prothro, from Boston University, who describes himself as a "confused Christian" -- of course, he was raised Episcopalian), makes an important point.  Ignorance of these things is not just sad, it is dangerous.  His solution is to sell his book (Religious Literacy:  What Every American Needs to Know)!  That's not quite mine.

Prothro does make the important point that ignorance of Christianity and other world religions is no longer an item of trivia or a sad commentary on American morality.  It is now a dangerous thing when most people don't know even the basic differences (doctrine, history and culture) between Christianity and Islam, or between Islam and Judaism.  Not knowing these things, how then can they understand why the Shias and Sunnis are fighting over Baghdad?  Why are Muslims so dead set against Israel occupying Palestine and especially the city of Jerusalem?  And what about all the religious images invoked on the evening news from the apocalyptic zealot who runs Iran (and may soon have the bomb), to something seemingly mundane, like Bush misquoting the Bible to make a political point?

While the debate rages about how to teach religion in the public schools--a sign to me that we are deeply in trouble--Protho's thesis is important.  For the well-being of the American republic, people need to know these things!  People who don't know these things, nevertheless still vote and determine public policy as well as foreign policy.

Meanwhile, it is vital that churches get to work.  We must do our best to ensure that Christians know the Scriptures, that they are catechized in the great doctrines of the faith, and that they are taught basic apologetics along with the tools of evangelism.  But churches should also be equipping their members to know the  doctrinal, historical and cultural differences between Islam, Christianity and Judaism!  The secular public has an excuse.  We do not.

So, when 50% of high-schoolers think Sodom and Gomorrah were married, its more than a sign of ignorance--it is a warning.  Especially, when I notice the new Mosque down the street is packed out on Friday afternoons and I know they are not taking these matters lightly.

Your thoughts? 

Tuesday
Mar132007

Why John MacArthur Is Not "Reformed"

Richard Muller.jpgJohn MacArthur's opening lecture at the Shepherd's Conference created two main points of contention.  The first has to do with the on-going debate over eschatology (specifically the millennial question).  MacArthur--who is an ardent dispensationalist--stated and defended his position.  That's OK and no one is surprised or upset about that.  But people are upset because MacArthur so badly misrepresented amillennialism, and because he defined "premillennialism" as though it were dispensationalism.  Not true.  The loud howls of protest to MacArthur's dispensationalism coming from historical premillennarians is proof.  We'll talk more about this matter in the coming days.

The second point of contention is MacArthur's questionable attempt to co-opt "Calvinism" from amillenniarians and claim it for the dispensationalists.  This is seen in MacArthur's remarkable claim that amillennialism is inherently "Arminian." 

As I thought about drafting a response to this claim, it occured to me that it has already been done.  In 1993, Richard Muller--who was my Ph.D. dissertation advisor and acknowledged by all as the leading authority on Reformed scholasticism and Calvin (Click here: Amazon.com: The Unaccommodated Calvin: Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition (Oxford Studies in His)--published a short essay entitled, "How Many Points?"

In this essay, Muller demonstrates why people like MacArthur are not Reformed.  MacArthur may hold to the "five points", but Muller shows why MacArthur is not "Reformed" nor a "Calvinist" in any meaningful or historical sense of those terms.

Before you read Muller's essay, please remember that the issue he's tackling is not whether those outside the Reformed churches are truly Christians (they are, if they are trusting in Christ).  Muller is not saying that they have nothing good to contribute to the cause of Christ, nor any other such thing. 

The specific issue Muller tackles is "who is Reformed?"  And John MacArthur is not.

__________________________________

How Many Points?

By Richard A. Muller (and published here with his kind permission) 

I once met a minister who introduced himself to me as a "five-point Calvinist." I later learned that, in addition to being a self-confessed five-point Calvinist, he was also an anti-paedobaptist who assumed that the church was a voluntary association of adult believers, that the sacraments were not means of grace but were merely "ordinances" of the church, that there was more than one covenant offering salvation in the time between the Fall and the eschaton, and that the church could expect a thousand-year reign on earth after Christ's Second Coming but before the ultimate end of the world. He recognized no creeds or confessions of the church as binding in any way. I also found out that he regularly preached the "five points" in such a way as to indicate the difficulty of finding assurance of salvation: He often taught his congregation that they had to examine their repentance continually in order to determine whether they had exerted themselves enough in renouncing the world and in "accepting" Christ. This view of Christian life was totally in accord with his conception of the church as a visible, voluntary association of "born again" adults who had "a personal relationship with Jesus."

In retrospect, I recognize that I should not have been terribly surprised at the doctrinal context or at the practical application of the famous five points by this minister — although at the time I was astonished. After all, here was a person, proud to be a five-point Calvinist, whose doctrines would have been repudiated by Calvin. In fact, his doctrines would have gotten him tossed out of Geneva had he arrived there with his brand of "Calvinism" at any time during the late sixteenth or the seventeenth century. Perhaps more to the point, his beliefs stood outside of the theological limits presented by the great confessions of the Reformed churches—whether the Second Helvetic Confession of the Swiss Reformed church or the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism of the Dutch Reformed churches or the Westminster standards of the Presbyterian churches. He was, in short, an American evangelical.

To read the rest of this essay, Click here: Riddleblog - "How Many Points?"
 

Monday
Mar122007

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgWho said that?

"I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world."

Place your guess in the comments section below.  No google searches (or cheating).  The goal is to guess "who said this?"