Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Digging Duggars

CNN reports:

Reality TV star Josh Duggar issued an apology Thursday after reports surfaced that he allegedly molested girls as a teenager, saying: "I acted inexcusably."

Duggar, 27, is the oldest of the children who appear on TLC's hit show "19 Kids and Counting." The Duggars are known for being devout Christians who don't believe in practicing birth control and whose children follow strict courtship rules. . . .

Full disclosure: I’ve never watched the show and I hadn’t heard of Josh Duggar until now.

A few thoughts…

First, I am sincerely thankful that our culture continues to find child molestation intolerable. I pray that it always will. But when I consider how our society—in the name of tolerance—continues to spiral downward in a sexual “revolution,” and when I read alarming comments regarding pedophilia; I become concerned that one day, perhaps not all too distant, those seeking to normalize sex with children will succeed in doing so.

Second, when I read on-line comments regarding the Duggar story, I can’t help but notice the vitriolic, vulgar, hate-filled rhetoric aimed at “conservative Christians” in general. Rather than mourn over the ravages of sin, these Christian-despising commentators relish the “opportunity” to attack social conservatives as being sexually repressed (usually in the area of homosexuality) hypocrites. Such thinking is as illogical as it is insensitive.

Speaking of hypocrisy and insensitivity…

Doesn’t it seem odd that the leftist-secularists are much harder on the 14-year-old child molester from Arkansas than the 44-year-old child molester from Hollywood? I guess some folks’ moral outrage goes on the decrease as Oscar nominations go on the increase.

Third and finally, I sincerely pray that the victims of the molestation have experienced and are experiencing (I imagine the spotlight has drudged things up) true emotional healing. I also pray that Josh Duggar is genuinely repentant for his sins.

In other words, dear reader, Jesus is the only cure for what ails us. In Him we find wholeness and forgiveness—grace that is greater than all our sins.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bread & Circuses

The hits just keep coming: lying politicians, violent cops, angry gays, looting urban youths…Bruce Jenner’s a Republican?

Just when we think things can’t get any loonier, we’re hit yet again with deflating news: Tom Terrific quarterback sneaked the nation with a smallish pigskin. You think you know a guy!

But he ain’t the first lying quarterback…



We do seem to live in a theater of the absurd.

Our bread and circuses culture isn’t all that dissimilar from the times of the early Christians. In the New Testament book of “The Acts of the Apostles” the apostle Paul is imprisoned for no other reason than he is a Christian. As if this isn’t ridiculous enough, he is being judged by a pervert-king (a man “married” to his full sister).

King Agrippa and his lovely sister-wife, Bernice, “come with great pomp” (How else would such a couple come?) to hear the testimony of Paul the prisoner (Acts 25:23). Upon hearing Paul, Festus the governor, declares him to be insane.

Paul rationally and respectfully responds: “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25).

Truth and reason are precisely what a world gone mad needs.

The world needs Jesus.

We have Him.

We need to share Him.

How will our Gift to the world be received? I suspect the reception will be now as it was then: mixed. Nevertheless, let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God to save a crazy world. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Grandpa's Letter (An Allegory)

FullPreterists consistently beat the drum of "immediate audience relevance." They continually stress that their interpretations of the texts are the only interpretations that would make sense to the 1st century audience.

But here's the thing Full Preterists always seem to overlook...

No 1st century Christian—and I mean this literally—no Christian in the 1st century interpreted the texts in question as Full Preterists do today. Not a single Christian in 70AD believed the Second Coming took place in 70AD.

This is the irony of the Full Preterist position: Under the guise of "immediate audience relevance" the Full Preterist interprets the text in a manner that no first century Christian ever dreamed of!

I have asked Full Preterists to present a single FULL Preterist—not a Partial Preterist—but a FULL Preterist before the middle of the 19th century. They've yet to produce one.

In other words, in the name of "immediate audience relevance" FULL Preterists put forward an interpretation that no 1st century Christian (the actual immediate audience) could even begin to recognize.

When this embarrassing fact is pointed out they nimbly retort:  "Well...we believe the text itself, not the interpretations of man. Sola Scriptura!" A knight jump, par excellence!

A Full Preterist friend expressed himself thus, "If I find a letter my grandpa wrote to my grandma, and He wrote her he would be home as soon as he could. Would I believe grandpa's coming home when grandma's been dead for twenty years?"

Below is my allegorical response which demonstrates the hermeneutical posture of Full Preterism.

***************************

Let’s think further, shall we?

Suppose you found a “letter” from your grandfather (whom you’ve been told was lost at sea) to your grandmother. She and all your 10 aunts and uncles (her children) are still alive. Let's also suppose that you are only 7 years old.

And...

This "letter" you found—from your grandpa to your grandma—isn’t actually a letter but a love poem with words and imagery you do not understand. (You’re only 7, remember!)

Thinking you know better than grandma (the recipient of the "letter") and all her children (to whom she has read the poem many times), you confidently inform them, “ALL of you are wrong: Grandpa returned just like he said he would!

Your grandma and all her children insist that your grandfather never returned like you think he did. They tell you that you are not understanding grandpa's words.

You respond by saying that all of them are dead wrong. You further state: “If grandpa didn't say what I think he said...then he's a liar!” 

You really don't think your grandpa was lying; but you do believe that grandma and all her children—your wise aunts and uncles—either misunderstand or disbelieve grandpa. And when he did return...they completely missed it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Looking Forward To The Past, pt. 3

Full Preterism holds that Jesus' Second Coming is to be viewed not as a future-to-us bodily return, but rather a "return" manifested by the physical destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple in AD 70 . . . Full Preterism also holds that the Resurrection of the dead did not entail the raising of the physical body, but rather the resurrection of the soul [in AD 70]. . .

To the above beliefs I would add that Full Preterists contend that the Millennium also came to an end in 70AD. So, needless to say, 70AD is on the huge side of big for these folks.

So, what exactly would Full Preterists have us believe?

First, the Second Coming of Christ (not a “judgment coming” but the actual Second Coming) was spiritual and non-physical. In fact we must understand that this “Second Coming” was such a monumental, world-changing, paradigm shifting event that no Christian for nearly 2000 years knew it had taken place.

Second, when John the Revelator speaks of a “thousand years” when the Devil is “bound” so that he should “deceive the nations no more” (Rev. 20); he means to convey that the Millennium is a 40 year period of intense persecution for the followers of Jesus. (Had any of the Christians suffering at the time known it…I’m sure they would’ve rejoiced to see the 40 year Millennium finally come to an end.)

Third, the hope of the “resurrection” is that when our bodies are dead they will stay that way. Hallelujah?

Just an aside: Did Jesus’ body stay dead upon His “resurrection”? I never considered the Apostles to preach: “We looked into the tomb and didn’t see a single soul!” I never interpreted the empty tomb story that way.

I always understood Christ’s resurrection to be physical and to be the model, the prototype of ours. But it seems Full Preterists (at least the ones who believe Jesus rose corporally from the dead) offer us something like this: You know how Jesus resurrected from the dead and says you too will be resurrected? Yeah, well…yours won’t be like His at all. 

In other words, dear reader, according to Full Preterism those of us this side of 70AD who anticipate the Second Coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, and life in the new heavens and earth are looking forward to the past.