I started to notice my "What's New" page is basically a blog and in order to avoid redundancy, I'm archiving all of those post HERE.
Debating in Christian Facebook groups, or should I say multi denominational and even very strange and heretical groups has become at least a partial past time. Why? I think all of us are driven by so many things. Personality and the use of our gifts play into this. Also, the natural skeptic in me who forces myself to go places that may be dangerous, but to do so in order to validate what I believe and help others in those groups who also may be struggling. Plus, maybe other reasons that I don't even know.
I can remember my Pastor telling me years ago that he read a book that he wouldn't want someone else to see because of fear it could lead them away from the faith. While I understood his position, ultimately our faith rest in what the bible says and is not based on loose (no evidence) facts, but sound historical evidence as well as the natural world that screams God, in-spite of the atheist who says he can't see it. In other words, its important to me that my faith holds up no matter what is thrown at it and if something could ever truly prove I am wrong, then so be it. I don't want to be trapped in a cult like religion with no basis or fact-do you?
Thus, it is certainly scary what I see in these groups, but I've learned a few things as well. The faint of heart and easily swayed be warned for sure, but like I said above, if our faith is true, it will show itself biblically, historically and in this creation around us.
Hugh Ross believes in an old earth. So why would I post some of his material and videos? Although controversial, he still offers some very good insights into astronomy and evidences for God, but even more controversial, I can understand the old earth argument much better than I used to and I believe there is some merit to it.
I don't have the will at the moment to go into this deep, but just like I have changed my mind and considered evidences and scripture on other issues throughout the years, I have become more open to the possibility of an old earth based on biblical language and other small evidences not necessarily external to scripture, but internal.
With that said, the young earth model is still solid and its one of those positions that is an issue to many, but much of the issue in my mind has more to do with why someone holds a position, not that they hold it. For example, someone who accepts old earth and does so based on (man made) science alone is more concerning than someone who like myself, finds scriptural reasons and also accepts young earth scientist as legit.
I know many die hard young earthers will say I am compromising scripture, but most would also say "flat earth" believers are nuts and yet, they think you are compromising scripture. Extremes are always part of any position. Yes, there are flat earth believers out there for real.
I don't know where I will eventually land on the subject and I will stop short of saying I am being open minded because I hate the use of that term. It's condescending in most instances and that is not my position. I simply have looked at the evidence and realize there is merit. I don't take an old earth position and still lean young earth, but I at least understand and believe the old earth position isn't as far fetched as I used to believe.
I've been spending some time in FB groups discussing various doctrine and to say I have been shocked would be an understatement. To set the tone, these groups are dealing with Eschatology in what is primarily known as Preterism. This view simply believes that much if not all of biblical prophecy has been fulfilled. For those not familiar with the view, I've posted the link to a good introductory video HERE,. I may even post it in the "what's new" section as well.
Now before all of my Futurist friends get all bent out of shape, there are many views in Eschatology and many well known conservative Christians have accepted the view known as Partial Preterism. The late RC Sproul and currently Jeff Durbin of Apologia Studios are two in this category. This view acknowledges that Matt. 24 and related passages have been mostly if not completely fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and the ending of the Jewish age (Old T sacrifice, temple worship etc) in AD 70.
What has taken me off guard are how many have taken this view to extremes so that "all things" are fulfilled, even to the point most of the New Testament isn't even for us. There are even extremes of this that basically write anyone living today out of the text completely. I'm not kidding, its nuts!
It is true there is much apocalyptic language in the bible and many allegories, shadows, a type of double fulfillment (prophecies concerning Christ). and so forth, but if someone gets lost in this and tries to answer everything and piece it together, we end up with a hodgepodge of different views and basically a mess.
My warning to anyone looking into these things is to be very careful. The Partial Preterist view, which is more easily proven at least as it concerns the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant in Christ (and fully done away post AD 70) is one thing, but once we have to start speculating all the more to try and fit the pieces together that demand a Full Preterist view, we are in danger of taking a good thing way to far.
The Full Preterist say that in order to be consistent a Partial Preterist view cannot hold, but my response to that, is if there is not sufficient and accurate proof taking me beyond what occurred in AD 70, I would rather remain agnostic on it until there is such proof. Call me inconsistent all you want, the Full Preterist view is already in the minority of views and within that view there are so many bickering views, its become a sideshow in these discussion groups.
There is much about the Preterist view that is intriguing and some of the Full Preterist points are valid, but difficult to prove. Prophecy can be ambiguous until fulfilled. I think of Elijah being the person of John the Baptist and not actually Elijah as the prophecy seemed to indicate. Or that at least some of the prophecies of Christ were written about things happening then and could be at least partially fulfilled, but we can only see their magnificence, splendor, ad full fulfillment in Christ.
To the point of the title of this page, some of the people debating these issues are so liberal that they would side with science and liberal beliefs about creation stories, the flood, and just about any orthodox topic is challenged by someone. I often think, why do they even bother if they don't believe the bible is God's word? Understanding metamorphic language and such is all fine and dandy and some things are difficult, but to take it to such degrees we are changing the face of the text to not mean what it plainly means, is highly suspicious and dangerous.
I encourage people to study these things out. The Partial Preterist view has much to offer concerning the end of the Old C and the bringing in of the New C and our current age, but once something gets unclear and we can't be certain, its okay to have an opinion, but to let it go from just an opinion to blind fact is to delve into speculation which could be in error and cause not only yourself, but others to doubt God's word.
When I first noticed that a "social gospel" theme around race relations was revealing itself within the Gospel Coalition, I was a little perplexed. Call me naive I guess, but I kind of thought most of these issues within the church had pretty much gone by the way side.
I can still remember a member of our church a few years ago that we knew clearly had some issues with race when he was a young man (he was in his 70's at the time), saying some things in Bible study that were a little racially slanted. Trust me when I tell you, there wasn't a non Caucasian in the room, but those who picked up on it, could still feel the tension. He wasn't speaking against others of differing ethnic backgrounds then, so much as he was talking about his thoughts when he was a younger man, but even through this, we could still sense the carry over from his youth. I can't remember at the time if we spoke to him because it was so benign and only happened on one or two occasions, but I do remember we discussed it and we would have intervened if necessary. So why would all of us "white" folk be so concerned if we in our minds didn't believe what he was saying could be taken wrong.? Why were we so sensitive to this? At the time, I thought it was because we had no room for racism. Again, maybe I was naive.
Looking back at my own life and this incident in the church, I kind of saw this man as the final "Christian" generation to hold over any racial tension from the 20th century. To clarify, I am speaking from the perspective of the church. Obviously there is still racial tension all over the world and its "all" groups. I've seen a lot of what one could call reverse racism over the years as well, but for some reason the Gospel Coalition has seemed to avoid that, or at least I haven't heard any talk of it.
Folks, the gospel isn't about social justice. There is no "social gospel" in the text of the bible. The gospel is about God reconciling His own out of "all" men. Black, white, purple or whatever. What the Gospel Coalition is doing and its obvious they are by the comments to their blogs, is actually creating racial tension in the church, where there was no racial tension-and if there was-the church (made up of all ethnic backgrounds) should in unity stop it from wherever it comes from. This includes any re-verse racism as well. To signal out what is being deemed as the white privileged Christian, is to take a time warp back into the 1960's and regurgitate issues that many in my generation did not participate in and that alone, shows a great growth and "repentance" toward these issues. Why would we want to bring up past hurts, when the change over the last 50 years has been one of a clear upward trajectory toward the end of racial disharmony?
I know that no matter how one approaches this subject the heart of the individual will be looked on as evil no matter how careful one is to word something, but something is going on in the church and its not good. Whenever we bring up "past" sin that is suppose to disappear through the gospel, we defy the very thing we are supposed to represent.
Let's hope the church can see this division is not going to bring unity, but only re-divide what had already grown to such a point, that many in my generation are scratching their heads wondering where all of this new hostility is coming from. May God work in the hearts of all of us, to love everyone within the church with equal fervor no matter what our backgrounds, but may He grant this thorough the power of His gospel and not the worldly modern social justice movement, which is no gospel at all.