As I state in my
August-September print newsletter, I am troubled by the tone I
am seeing among believers today and particularly between
ministry leaders. (You can sign up for that five-times-a-year
newsletter here.) I
am seeing a lack of civility between ministries that is stunning
as well as character assassination and even slander.
Yet I am mindful that we are
to contend for the faith! I'm not certain that what I see is
contending from a few. I see it crossing a line and becoming
mean-spirited growling. Some men and women are caving to the
fleshly desire to tear down rather than build up.
So when Gary DeMar came out a
couple of weeks ago stating publicly that I host "a nonsense
conference," I felt I needed to respond. I trust I can do so in
a manner that is kinder and gentler than his. And, by the way,
he was kind and
gentle when he
called me six years ago and asked me to set up a debate for him
here in the Twin Cities. I declined.
When DeMar hosts his Preterist
conferences, I do not go online and call his efforts foolish or
nonsensical even though some of the tenets of Preterism stretch
the imagination. Nero was supposedly the Antichrist. The
Tribulation took place in 70 AD with the sacking of Jerusalem.
DeMar, R.C. Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff do not take their
Preterism to the extreme and believe Christ returned in 70 AD as
well. Many Full Preterists do teach that. To fully understand
the theology, I recommend this
Looking in a Rear-View Mirror?
Preterists like R.C. Sproul, claim they still believe in a
future Second Coming, but still insist on interpreting the
Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation as already fulfilled
in the past. As a result, they reject such basic concepts
as: Rapture of the Church; literal seven year Tribulation
period; literal Antichrist; conversion of Israel; battle of
Armageddon; 1000-year Millennium. Oh, and we're already in the
Millennium, even though it is not literal.
has spread this theology as well with his vast radio audience.
Hank continually slams people such as Tim LaHaye and Hal
Lindsey. I am not sure why we cannot disagree without
denigrating the other side. Again,
if this isthe new standard in apologetics, God help us.
DeMar states in
his article, "Prophetic predictions wouldn't be much of a
problem except that millions of people fall for the claims and
the effect on our nation's social, political, and moral
landscape has been devastating."
Really? How has
the message of Christ's imminent return and the coming hope of
Heaven been devastating to people?? I never knew that the
thought and belief that the King is coming, and soon, was a
insist that what I and other Dispensationalists believe is just
stoking the fuel for a belief that rescues believers before the
traumatic Tribulation or that it rescues them in the middle of
the Tribulation or just prior to the outpouring of the wrath of
God. In any case, God is going to bail out true believers and
this is further "nonsense" to many, including DeMar. Since we
just want to get out of Dodge before the Antichrist wrecks the
earth, this kind of bait offered to unsuspecting Christians
leads to DeMar's claims about my "devastating results" I guess.
So DeMar states,
"Once again, the usual suspects are
gathering at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN, October 5, (for
Jan Markell's conference) to tell an eager and naïve audience
that all the signs are aligned for an inevitable end-time
out the word "suspects" is denigrating, Gary. We are not guilty
of a crime as such a word suggests.
In all honesty,
we gather each year to "encourage one another," Have you noticed
the tide of our times? Everything is coming apart. There is
little to no good news. So anywhere from three to five thousand
followers of this ministry gather a couple times of year just
outside Minneapolis to have like-minded fellowship. For that, we
are mocked and made fun of. There are dozens of scriptural
references admonishing us to encourage, and we can start with Hebrews
states, "I suspect the majority of attendees who will sit under
Mark Hitchcock, Ron Rhodes, Jan Markell, Erwin Lutzer, and
others, will not realize that only the names and events and
dates have been changed. They will be hearing regurgitated
speculation in the name of the Bible."
The theology of
my speakers and attendees does not make us an enemy; does not
make us mentally off balance; does not make us heretics; does
not make us morally debased; does not make us good candidates
for a mental institution. But you would think all of those were
true. We have a
difference of opinion for Pete's sake.
Yet in the world
of apologetics today, those who hold to a different view are too
often called everything short of demonic.And that may be
next. At my
events, we do not set dates. We do not share elaborate dreams
and visions about the end of the world. We don't even try to
name the Antichrist! The
most outlandish statement we might make is that Barack Obama ispaving
the way for the Antichrist. We
don't promote global warming, nuclear disarmament, or
redistributing the wealth.
I am hereby pleading with ministry leaders to have cooler
heads and knock off the harsh rhetoric. No, not to stop
contending for the faith, but to do it in such a manner that the
above-mentioned style ceases. In Proverbs
6:16-19, "sowing discord among brothers" is right up there
with the offense of murder in the eyes of the Lord. As
Gary Kah said on my radio program on August 3, unsaved
people are turned off to faith when they see Christians slamming
and denigrating each other.
line-up for some future "nonsense" events I am hosting. All
events are free and are held in a suburb of Minneapolis. We look
at current events, deception in the church, apologetics, and
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -
Understanding the Times 2013: Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Joseph Farah
from World Net Daily, and Dr. Ron Rhodes.
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.-Spring
conference at same location with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Skip Heitzig,
and Eric Barger.
Saturday, October 4, 2014, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at
same location with Ed Hindson, Jack Hibbs, and more. Stay tuned.
I'll get the
"nonsense" out of each event and will present "no nonsense"
information. I really will. Gary DeMar, come and check it out
for yourself! We would be honored to have you.
our CONFERENCE category here. See
short videos of previous events.