October 19, 2015
"[All] too often we bring a prejudiced view to the Bible texts. Even our definitions of words are too frequently loaded with a bias that essentially proves our conclusion. In essence, we have guaranteed the triumph of our conclusion before we begin to reason from the facts, just by our definitions.
Our prejudices and our fears prohibit us from doing what is required: Honestly, and diligently reading an entire passage based on its context. After forming an interpretation, we must repeatedly test and refine our interpretation by comparing it to all the words in the text, looking for contradictions as well as support - all the while, ignoring the tug of our human allegiances. ... This takes time, and regrettably patience is not one of our innate virtues. Plus, we like to be right. Therefore, too often we rush to judgment, gravitating toward words that support our view, while unconsciously dismissing troubling words that detract from our cherished conclusions. Those words that aggravate, we promise to answer another time, but conveniently, that time never comes and our prejudiced conclusions stick. Even worse, if we are not careful, our heart becomes hardened in our original conviction, because we believe our doctrines overcame careful examination. When in reality, our beliefs and our heart were never truly opened to serious challenge." Insearchoftruth.org.
It is an unfortunate but true fact that Christians (for the majority of at least the last five or six hundred years) have not been united or unanimous in their views, understanding or interpretation of Bible prophecy. Nor have we defined terms, concepts or ideas in many uniform ways. Consequently, a discussion around the issues that are taken up below are sure to arouse, not only interest, but also debate, and possibly some sparks as well. But what will be helpful for us? I think stepping back (a bit) and taking in what is being offered and doing so without feeling obliged to agree OR instantly shoot down what is being said.
More to the point, the use of terms like "Rapture" (in my opinion) are not absolutes, but could be merely allowable for the sake of discussion. Personally, I think a better term for what the Apostle Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 is "translation"—or better yet "resurrection."1
I do realize that when two Christians who believe in Realized Eschatology use the word "Rapture" it can conjure up negative connotations that are associated with that from idealogies (and idealogues) that have always disagreed and battled valiantly against (for example) the likes of Dispensational Premillennialists. In reflection, I would say we could use such a word with caution or else eliminate it altogether.
by Mark E. Mountjoy
Scripture text: "No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (2 Timothy 2:4-5).
The propagation of unsystematized, sensational and ill-defined information within the churches and throughout the world holds unintended consequences and hidden dangers for both churches, individual Christians and even non-believers. For churches, their reasons for their existence will come into question; for individual Christians their purpose and the respective responsibilities of their vocation as fellow-workers in the kingdom of God will be put in immediate doubt. For non-believers, they may gain the impression that Christianity is a fascinating, but ultimately inconvenient or impractical ideology.
Any ideology and any theology that has no utilitarian value certainly cannot answer or address the problems mankind has in the real world.
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