We live in a time in which Tony Jones can say publicly that he no longer believes in Original Sin…and not only does he continue to teach at Fuller Seminary, no national leadership anywhere even blinks an eye.
We live in a time in which Jones and his friends in the so-called Emergent Village can actually present their own brand of eschatology and worldview (what Bob DeWaay refers to brilliantly as a “theology of despair,” echoing Francis Schaeffer)…and contribute mightily to the despair and hopelessness of today’s youth. Not a peep from national leadership.
We live in a time when the leading periodical for young evangelicals, Relevant magazine, is anti-Israel and a mocker of classic Bible prophecy teaching.
We live in a time in which leading apologists and apologetics ministries wholly ignore the specialness of the Jews and Bible prophecy.
We live in a time when the giants of Bible prophecy teaching have passed or are passing from the scene, and frankly, the dearth of up-and-coming teachers willing to step up is alarming.
We live in a time in which Bible prophecy teaching is marginalized more from ministry leaders and clergy than at any time in our nation’s history.
So what is much of the Bible prophecy community doing?
Engaging in fringe and embarrassing topics. Giving ammunition to the scoffing, laughing critics within the Church.
There is no greater apologetic to be used for the advancement of the Gospel than the plain presentation of the Bible’s predictive prophecy. For heaven’s sake, we live in the time in which Israel has been restored. This is very basic and simple: one of the dominant themes in the Old Testament is God’s provision for the Jews down through history, culminating in their re-gathering to their ancestral land in the last days.
This is a “The sky is blue” moment.
Millions of lost people would respond to this message if it was presented to them. Most people on Earth today have zero idea about any of this. It is new information to them.
So what has one self-appointed teacher written? That the modern state of Israel is illegitimate. Let me be clear: that view, my friends, is worldview, Hamas-style. It plays into the false teaching of such figures as Stephen Sizer, Naim Ateek, and Brian McLaren. Not to mention any growing number of national evangelical leaders promoting the Palestinian narrative.
We are also seeing a proliferation of teachings using alleged “archaeological” evidences that purport to have something to do with Genesis 6.
A plain reading of Genesis 6 reveals to us that at the time of Noah, a group of diabolical giants terrorized the world. God saw that it was necessary to bring a global flood to destroy them and preserve one righteous man and his family. That’s really all we know.
Instead, what we are getting from some prophecy teachers is a steady diet of extra-biblical sources that have nothing to do with the Bible. Further, the use of apocryphal sources is an exceedingly poor support/substitute for the all-sufficient Scripture.
Yesterday, I actually heard a fellow who attends an evangelical church say that some of Paul’s writings are not inspired!
Or, witness those who cast doubt on the moon landing in 1969. Perhaps tomorrow someone will put forth “research” that an alien from Planet Gort really killed Kennedy. Bizarre conspiracy stories are mushrooming and each has zero to do with presenting the Gospel.
The world is dying and we are having these discussions.
A guy once told me that the Illuminati leadership in the 18th century had phones with which to communicate across vast distances. Where was the evidence for this? It didn’t exist. Yet these fringe ideas titillate like horror movies, or Dan Brown novels.
My friends, this is a dangerous development. In large part, this nonsense has arisen from a dereliction of duty from some prophecy teachers. They are not stemming the tide of unbelief by presenting the overwhelming evidence that the Bible is true. They are too busy combing-through ridiculous extra-biblical sources.
Ironically, we are seeing in real-time the fulfillment of 2 Peter 3, yet my sense is that some teachers, recognizing correctly that much of the Church is sliding into apostasy, desire genuinely to stop that bleeding. Problem is, they feel that in order to get attention, “new” and spectacular revelations are needed. The plain old prophecy teaching won’t do. We need to tie alleged forensic evidence with aliens, or whatever it is they claim.
That is false.
What is needed is a clear presentation of the Gospel, using prophecies already fulfilled and those being fulfilled. Young people in America are dying for it. They want to find meaning in their lives—they are searching. All manner of false teaching meets them eye-to-eye every single day, from public schools to universities, to media, to…church. In none of those places do they hear one whit about Bible prophecy.
Oh, that we would return to the plain teaching of such things and abandon the sensational, flaky, and false.
Actually, there is some truth after all in the claim that people want/need sensationalism to stay engaged. But do you know what my answer is when someone asks me who I think the antichrist is?
“I don’t know.”
Do you know what my answer is when people ask if I think the current pope is the last pope?
“I don’t know.”
This last point I come to because biblically, there is zero information about this subject. Zero. An elaborate treatment of it must be obtained from extra-biblical sources, and that is the last thing we need in our present predicament, which is life in this world.
We need the Bible. We need men and women who will plainly teach it. We need a love for the power and majesty of the living God revealed in the real-time fulfillment of prophecy.
We need to point east to that small nation on the shores of the Mediterranean and open our Bibles and point to the hundreds of prophecies that look forward to her rebirth in the last days.
What we do not need is one more ounce of bizarre “scholarship” that takes one sentence of Scripture—“As it was in the days of Noah…”—and builds book series, dvds, and scary Powerpoint presentations to make…some kind of point.
Have you noticed that the farther down that rat-hole one goes, the less we even think of the Gospel? How can one come to know the Person of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture if we are focusing on scary scenarios involving genetic tampering? We already know from real history, from Scripture (Genesis 11), that the minute mankind gets into position to achieve more than he is allowed to by the Creator, God shuts that thing down. Why do we worry about stuff that should be and is in the realm of the SyFy Channel?
And make no mistake: the world—secular skeptics, New Agers, media, religious sources, Matthew Paul Turner, Brian McLaren, Relevant magazine, etc., etc.—is making huge fun of us for the wayward teaching that has mushroomed in the American Bible prophecy community. They love it. They snicker and address college students and point at us.
This is what irresponsible teaching has brought us, and it is a disaster.
Rather than talk about genetically altered humans, what if we addressed audiences by talking about the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament? Isn’t that mind-blowing enough?
I am stunned 24/7 by the power of God, who makes known His purposes through the story of the Jews and their restoration to the land. I don’t need to read about wacky conspiracy theories. I need to read my Bible, meditate on the Word, and pray.
The apparently profitable cottage industry that yearns to go far beyond that simplicity can’t abide such simplicity. So we get Facebook discussions of weird, extra-biblical topics that are not only without real evidence—they take away focus from the Gospel itself.
No, what we need is the instruction Paul gave to Timothy: Preach the Word.
Of course, that assumes one believes Paul’s writings are inspired, and not the work of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion Nephilim.