Apologetics puritan-colonial

Published on January 25th, 2012 | by Bojidar Marinov

31

What Is a Balanced Preacher?

A good friend of mine, a pastor and an elder of a growing Reformed church in Texas, wrote me recently:

Bo,

Do you think my preaching is not balanced? I get criticized by other Christians a lot and it makes me doubt myself and do a self examination. . . . How many of my sermons have you listened to? My answer is that what I preach emerges as a result of faithful exposition and application of Scripture. I recently finished a series on James and am now going through Colossians.

From the rest of the letter (I omit some of it for it includes personal references) it becomes clear that the critics claim that my friend’s frequent mention of politics and culture is what makes his preaching “not balanced.”

So it’s politics and culture.

I know my friend, and I have listened to his sermons and teachings, and I have read his articles, and I have been to his church many times, and I have even had the [undeserved] privilege to teach in his Sunday school and preach in church. I can say this:

My friend teaches his congregation theology: The Person and the nature of God, the Trinity, the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God; creation in six days; the Creation ordinance and covenant of God with mankind, and the restorative covenant with the redeemed humanity after the Fall.

He also teaches the nature of man and his God-given Dominion Mandate; the Biblical significance of work and stewardship. He and another elder in the church are independent businessmen, and as such they teach and give example to others of the Christian way of doing business. He also teaches the Fall, the nature of sin, redemption, salvation, and the status of the redeemed man in Christ; the sacrifice and the blood of Christ as the only means for man to be restored into fellowship with God. He is an active evangelist himself, both in personal evangelism and through radio spots on the local radio stations. People in his church are also actively involved in evangelism; a young entrepreneur and business owner in the church often takes a loud-speaker after work and goes to a street corner to do street evangelism. The church has strong families and Christian education of the children – especially home education – is encouraged. Another elder of the church is a professional educator, and as we talked a few weeks ago, he is in the process of creating a curriculum for a local Christian school run by another pastor in the area.

My friend also teaches the Law of God as a tutor to Christ, as a mirror for us to reveal our sin, and as a rule of righteousness and justice, individual and collective. He preaches on Biblical ethics and encourages his congregation to seek that sanctification that can be achieved only through obeying the Law of God. His church is very strict about sinful conduct, and has high requirements of its members.

He teaches on the work of God in history – God’s sanctions for nations and individuals according to their obedience or disobedience to the Law of God. He is especially fond of teaching the history of Christian England (Alfred the Great is one of his heroes) and Christian Scotland (he teaches Sunday school on the Scots Worthies by John Howie).

He teaches his church the Great Commission and the victory of the Gospel in history. The church is well learned in the different eschatological views, better than many other churches that I have visited over the years. One of my first experiences when I visited his church for the first time was to get a thorough lesson by one of the church members on the differences between pre- and postmillennialism, and the importance of eschatology to our actions today. The church member was an ordinary Christian, he never went to seminary, and he never had any formal theological or philosophical education outside of his local church.

In fact, in general, my friend’s church is among the top churches I know in terms of thorough training in systematic theology, Biblical theology, applied ethics, and many other areas. They have weekly communion, and their worship and preaching are all self-consciously based on the Bible. The members are catechized, they know the creeds, and can recite them. And these people read voraciously.

And yes, he also applies the truths of the Bible to the political and cultural arena. He is not one of those Christian celebrities, fake Christian leaders and teachers, who insist that there is no such thing as a Christian culture, or Christian government, or Christian political action. He believes that the Gospel applies to those areas of man’s life and actions too.

And for that, he is branded as “not balanced” by his critics.

I know his detractors too. They seldom teach beyond a small set of three or four topics, mainly emotionally charged or intellectually obscure. Personal piety, ecclesiology, and what they call “the Gospel,” which is the simple proposition that Jesus came to die for our sins. (The idea that the Gospel includes much more than that, and that it is a power for salvation of the whole world is way beyond their limited understanding of it.) Sometimes family, and it only in the context of husband-wife and parents-children relationship; Biblical prerogatives of the family like work, economics, education, welfare, inheritance issues etc. are not mentioned. A multitude of topics is left outside of their preaching and teaching: economics, civil government, politics, money, education, culture, law, history, science, social studies, etc. Because their preaching and teaching is limited to a few topics and propositions, they are trying to stretch their preaching and teaching to fill their courses and lectures and sermons, repeating the same things over and over again, and engaging in irrelevant elaboration on minutest details of obscure theological or literary points; or resort to hollow moralisms in the area of ethics and practical living.

But my friend is branded as “not balanced” while they believe themselves to be “balanced” in their preaching and teaching.

How did we get to this point? How did we allow those ministers of the Gospel who diligently work to apply the Gospel to every area of life to be branded as “not balanced” while elevating as celebrities those that say that there is no such thing as Christian culture, or Christian civil government, or Christian economics? How did we allow the idea that Christ rules in every area of life and therefore His Law must be the law of the land in every area of life, to be branded as “triumphalism” and “transformationism” and other derogatory names; while the closing of the Christian mind and the shrinking of the Christian religion to matters of personal piety only is considered “true Christianity”?

What would we call those Christians who fought and built this nation 200 years ago, who believed that religious liberty could not be separated from economic and social liberty? What would we say to John Witherspoon, the spiritual father and guide of almost all Founding Fathers, who in 1774 said the following:

There is not a single instance in history, in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage. . . .

Witherspoon was openly calling his fellow Americans to rise and defend their political, economic, and social liberties. Was he “not balanced”? My friend’s detractors, having the luxury of living in the nation founded by those earlier Christians, with liberty and justice for all, would have branded Witherspoon too if he were alive today.

What would we say to Calvin, and the Dutch Calvinists of the 16th and the 17th centuries, and the English Puritans, and the Scottish Covenanters? They were all committed to build a City on a Hill, societies that were in every way obedient to Christ and His Law, including law, civil government, and politics. Because of their work and efforts we can have the United States today; and because of their writings we can talk about such values like individual liberty, economic liberty, equality before the law, privacy, immunity, etc. Again, my friend’s detractors, having the luxury of living in a world heavily influenced and built upon those ideas, would have branded Calvin and those earlier Reformed Christians as “not balanced.”

What would we say to the Christians and church leaders in the 12th and the 13th centuries who patiently and systematically worked to eradicate the old pagan tribal laws and customs of the Romans, Greeks, Celts, and Saxons, and replace them with the canon law of the church? Under the old pagan laws, women were considered less than human and couldn’t inherit; and also, under the old pagan laws, there was still slavery in Europe in some places. The church’s canon law destroyed slavery and limited the power of kings and barons over their subjects. And what would we say to the bishops who drafted Magna Carta and forced King John to sign it, thus laying the foundation for the liberty and justice for all we enjoy today? Would we say they were “not balanced” to involve in such activity to protect life, liberty, and property?

What would we say to Bishop Ambrose when he excommunicated Emperor Theodosius, and when the Emperor responded in anger that he was coming to seize his church, Ambrose’s words thundered throughout the ancient world:

You have no right whatsoever to enter the house of a common man; what makes you believe you can enter the house of God?

Or what would we say to Augustine who declared that “no republic is properly constituted save the republic whose Founder and Ruler is Jesus Christ,” and then told a young ruler, “if your government doesn’t have for its ultimate goal the worship of God, then the welfare of the people is not true welfare”?

We have lost our way as a church. We call good evil and evil good. We elevate for celebrities those that keep us in ignorance concerning the true extent of the Gospel, lulling our consciences by telling us that “there is no such thing as Christian culture or government.” We call those preachers that preach and apply the whole counsel of God “not balanced”; and we praise and honor those that pick and choose what in the Bible they will teach. We have limited Christ’s power and Crown rights to a ghetto, and we have left the world to His enemies; and we even brag about it as if it is some lofty example of piousness.

And then we wonder why we are losing our children, and why the world is getting more and more anti-Christian, and why our rulers are more open in their rebellion and sin and injustice.

And we have good theological excuses for it.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to call good good, and evil evil. And listen to the true balanced preachers like my friend. And send his critics to where they belong: the garbage heap of history.

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About the Author

A Reformed missionary to his native Bulgaria for over 10 years, Bojidar preaches and teaches doctrines of the Reformation and a comprehensive Biblical worldview. Having founded Bulgarian Reformation Ministries in 2001, he and his team have translated over 30,000 pages of Christian literature about the application of the Law of God in every area of man’s life and society, and published those translations online for free. He has been active in the formation of the Libertarian movement in Bulgaria, a co-founder of the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty and its first chairman. If you would like Bojidar to speak to your church, homeschool group or other organization, contact him through his website: http://www.bulgarianreformation.org/



31 Responses to What Is a Balanced Preacher?

  1. Ursula says:

    / Interesting stuff. BTW, here is something found on the net that came my way. /

    Futurism Was, Is, and Is To Come

    Preterists claim that the “Antichrist” and the “great tribulation” were fulfilled during the 70 AD period.
    If so, why do we find that the arrival of the Antichrist was regarded as a future event by writers who lived during and after 70 AD?
    Polycarp (70-167) wrote that “He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead.”
    Justin Martyr (100-168) said that “[Antichrist] shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians….”
    Irenaeus (140-202) wrote that the ten kings (Rev. 17)”shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight.”
    It’s not true that Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) “revived” futurism because it was never lost during the Middle Ages or prior to that period of time.
    Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) stated: “There remains only one thing – that the demon of noonday [Antichrist] should appear.”
    Roger Bacon (1214-1274) spoke of “future perils [for the Church] in the times of Antichrist….”
    John Wycliffe (1320-1384) referred to “the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii.”
    Martin Luther (1483-1546): “[The book of Revelation] is intended as a revelation of things that are to happen in the future….”
    (Google or Yahoo “Famous Rapture Watchers” to see quotes from many Christian leaders throughout the Church Age which prove that they expected a future Antichrist and a future great tribulation.)
    Preterists use Matt. 24:34 (“This generation will not pass….”) to try to prove a 70 AD fulfillment of “Antichrist.” Since many of them see “these” (Matt. 25:46) fulfilled in the future in Rev. 20, why can’t they apply futurism as easily to Matt. 24:34? After all, the word “this” is the singular form of “these”!
    To see something that preterists, historicists, and futurists can all agree on, Google “Pretrib Rapture Secrets.”

  2. Justin says:

    I agree with your assessment about certain pastors. It’s like they have this underlying snobbish attitude towards other commissions or careers. I don’t think they, themselves, know it but it’s just something that I’ve observed. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that they’re into their circle of pastors and apologists, and they don’t think anything else matters. Yet, the rest of the world just doesn’t care. Granted that they like to do world missions, but overall it’s about their circle.

    As for the pragmatism that they preach against when they scold other churches of doing, they do it themselves when it comes to political issues. This includes discernment; they do the same thing there as well. I think they do it because they’re incompetent at politics or preaching about it so they say politics has not business at the pulpit. They would rather stay away from it so as to not dig into something that might be, too, hard for them. However, nobody doesn’t practice politics. Even the guy at the assembly line deals with it. Therefore, if these celebrity preachers are not incompetent at politics, then what are they really doing? Just a thought.

    I don’t mean to go off ranting, but it’s nice to see like-minded people here. I dare not talk to a church member about politics. I might get tossed out. It’s like they’re going against everything that the Bible teaches, and no amount of words or quality of argument can convince them otherwise. It’s frustrating to see the ignorance turn into irrational behavior. You try to make a connection with them through the Bible, and they turn you off. I understand that a lot of times it takes a while to get through somebody, but it’s tough when the people that they follow tell them to do the other thing. Or, the ones that they follow keep silence and let them live in their ignorance.

    I am so hopeful that the Church can turn it around because I do believe that the Church is the one strong force that can turn American politics around. Yet, the ignorance is killing us, and holding us all hostage. Not even taxes and tyrannical laws can do so much.

    Again, thank you very much. This post has been encouraging.

  3. Don B. says:

    This was a great article! What a wonderful church! I personally hunger to hear the bible expounded as it relates to everything in life, i.e., culture, civil government, economics, warfare, family, etc. My frustration over not hearing these things and going all over the internet to find them in articles and MP3s has caused me to wonder if I am unbalanced or worse yet, unsaved.

    Thank you, Bojidar, for a personally refreshing and timely article.

    Don

  4. David says:

    Mr. Marinov,

    Where is your friend’s church located? We live in Friendswood (just south of Houston). If he is in our area, I want to go there. Alternatively, do you have any recommendations for churches in our area?

    Best Regards,

    David

  5. Don Confalone says:

    And please stop using the term “religious liberty”. In your view of God only christians have liberty.

  6. Don Confalone says:

    Under the old pagan laws, women were considered less than human and couldn’t inherit;

    You mean the old testament? Where women were the property of men.

  7. E Harris says:

    I have just recently been having a similar discussion with a preacher that I know. It’s hard for a lot of preachers, when they aren’t used to preaching about cultural matters. It’s a huge shift from sticking to the “personal salvation” stuff into being able to elaborate more fully on the cultural matters that are OUTGROWTHS of a prior acceptance of Jesus Christ. There is a difference between believing and performing, so we do have to keep “the main thing, the main thing.” JESUS HIMSELF is the main thing, and how God wants to bring us into unity with Himself via His Son. But we have been so dumbed down, in a cultural sense, that sometimes many preachers are AFRAID to teach what they already know. And because they don’t teach it, their congregations don’t talk about it, and a proper view of political (read: contested) issues never becomes known. And even well-meaning christians stay in the dark. Just the other day, a friend of mine was wearing an Obama cap. Now, he sings with me in the praise team – and knows very well how I view Obama (though it still seem to hurt him when I insist that I have facts to back up my case). It’s easy to forgive this guy, because he’s an older black guy that lived through the 1960′s, and his mind still seems to think that the world is right now as it was then. He’s got a gentle & humorous spirit, and he’s easy to get along with. But this guy who practically worships Obama (and once spoke of him as a veritable messiah, not realizing it) has a black pastor who was a closet conservative (in ’09). The salvation message was being preached, but political idolatry snuck in the back door during the other 6 days of the week!! The same thing can be said for other forms of stupidity. This is a real big problem.

  8. Alex Alexander says:

    Exactly right, Bojidar!
    You’ve summed-up the frustration that my wife and I share.
    The trouble is, there are so few good, real churches like the one your friend pastors. And there are even fewer over here in Europe/the UK than over there in the US. Where, oh where, do we start when ESPECIALLY Christians “don’t get it”?
    Alex A

  9. Shelby Luke says:

    Psalms 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

    • Rich says:

      Shelby,

      AMEN. And, God has built (past tense) his temple and He didn’t need man to do it. He did it all by himself via His Son. It’s the Body of Christ. John 2:21, 1 Cor. 3:16-17, 2 Cor. 6:16, Eph. 2:21-22, Rev. 3:12…on and on it goes.

  10. Rich says:

    “You have no right whatsoever to enter the house of a common man; what makes you believe you can enter the house of God?”

    Hmmm….house of God? God ask, “…what kind house will you build for me, and what is the place of my rest?” Isa. 66:1

    God is the builder of his own house. Its called the Body of Christ. Ever read the NT? These stupid buildings that man makes are not God’s house!

    This is one of many reasons why the Church is going down hill (for more read Pagan Christianity by Viola). It’s all the false doctrines that man has build up over the centuries that has blinded the Church to its position, function, and role in the world today. And the Reformed camp (along with everyother futuist based group) is knee deep in it. This statement below from the article says it all. And it’s actually put up as proof that this “preacher” is doing a good job.

    “The members are catechized, they know the creeds, and can recite them.”

    Hello? They would do well to get rid of them all. We already have a fairly large book (Bible) to read and study handed down to us by God himself. The last thing we need is a bunch of words drummed up by men with their spin on what they think God has stated. What makes man think he is more able than God to commnicate his word? All they do is lead men astray by blinding them with a false futurist worldview. Half of them are in error due to their futurism, so no wonder it seems the Church is failing.

    The article stated: “My friend teaches his congregation theology: The Person and the nature of God, the Trinity, the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God; creation in six days; the Creation ordinance and covenant of God with mankind, and the restorative covenant with the redeemed humanity after the Fall….He also teaches the Fall, the nature of sin, redemption, salvation, and the status of the redeemed man in Christ; the sacrifice and the blood of Christ as the only means for man to be restored into fellowship with God”

    What if it’s his intepretation/understanding of half these doctrines that is wrong (which I presuppose probably are)?

    This summary taken from the authors background says it all too.

    “translated over 30,000 pages of Christian literature about the application of the Law of God in every area of man’s life”.

    Christ came to free Israel (the Gentile man was never under it in the first place), from it and man has been trying his best to place all men under law ever since. I pray that some day the Gospel of Christ will finally be grasped by man. Until then we’ll have more of the same sprial downward.

    • E Harris says:

      Rich, have you ever checked out “Protestant Historicism”? The book “End Time Delusions” was, for me, the best pre-cursor to Pagan Christianity. Without reading “End Time Delusions” first… I don’t think I could quite have grasped the depth of what Viola and the organic/house-church movement were talking about.

      I like to think that it is possible to combine Post-millenialism with Protestant Historicism and “organic house church”. It is true that Jesus is coming back, after all of his enemies have been placed under his feet. It is also true that what we think of as the “institutional church” came from the Mother of them all: The Mother of Harlots (The Holy Roman Empire OR the Roman Catholic Church… take your pick.) All denominations have the same basic kind of authority-structure that the Roman Catholic Church uses, because the RCC officialized the pattern of using tithes, buildings, and creeds. The first creed was the Council of Nicaea convened UNDER the authority of a Roman Emperor… and though they rejected his favored theology, though he did stop a lot of the persecution of christians, he made it so that anyone who spoke against such a “christian” creed could (potentially) be called an “enemy of the state” for having a different opinion about what words to use to describe God or the Son of God. (“who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God”) In the temple of God…

      Are we really to believe that the “temple of God” referred to here is the pre AD70 Jewish temple? After the gospels, every time the temple is referred to, it is a living entity or a pagan one. So which version is THE temple of God in Revelation (which is highly symbolic, by the way)?

      Preterism (or partial preterism) has no answer to this challenge, without going overboard into “Protestant Historicism.” As Protestants ourselves, I think Protestant Historicism deserves another look. Both Futurism and Preterism got a rubber stamp of approval during the COUNTER-Reformation at the Council of Trent. Probably because… wait for it… the re-definition (in eschatological terms) of what THE TEMPLE meant!!! The Temple of God is the hinge upon which ALL of eschatology turns, post-Pentecost. (I use the term “Protestants” loosely to mean “non-roman-catholic christians”. Since that is the original meaning of the word Protestant.)

      I don’t think that all historicists are correct about everything, but I would say that about EVERY eschatological camp. But usually I can find elements in each camp that fit the Bible, and that’s what I take away. The Historicists are correct about Rome. However, they didn’t go far enough… because most of them were still institutionalized. They failed to grapple with the fact that the “man of sin” is more of a HEART CONDITION and ATTITUDE (like statism) than a simple institution.

      • E Harris says:

        The church will benefit when institutional thinkers (such as Marinov) begin to see the truth about the IDENTITY of the Biblical Temple in the NT and Revelation. Such deep historical thinkers would have a LOT to offer Protestant Historicism and the organic house church movement.

        However, to truly embrace Protestant Historicism and the organic house church, one must be willing to renounce a few things. And not many are willing to renounce some of these (yet) because they still think that they have too much to lose. The idea that we can have an earthly kingdom that operates like a machine-of-laws seperate from the Spirit of God interacting (directly) with each individual person. One must also (possibly) be willing to renounce the necessity of tithing, buildings, clergy/laity divide, creeds-as-absolute, and the authority of human institutions over the Spirit and the interpretation of the Word. We must be willing to Re-Form our external structures (and opinions) yet again, to line up with the truth in the Bible: that WE ARE the Temple. (Not everyone is, just those who really believe that Jesus IS the one way… and only the Shepherd REALLY sees into the heart and knows all his sheep. So there’s no need to absolutely determine who is “in or out” in an institutional sense. Only personal relationship.)

        Yes, “organic” is very individualistic and personal. But it is as the Apostles were with Jesus. Only now, Jesus is Spirit and with us more than ever. As a consequence of this, a lot of the physical metaphore of the OT must be fully understood in its spiritual intent for today. We no longer need to stone our neighbor for trespassing: we need to check ourselves to see if we are trespassing. We no longer to check to see if they are Jews and obeying customs: we simply witness to them about the glory and truth of God and His Grace extended to them (and the death they face, if they don’t receive such redemption). In a crumbling empire such as ours (which is now a crumbling worldwide apparatus, including China, Russia, Iran, etc.) we must be willing (at least willing) to see ourselves as the early christians saw themselves. Because christians never did achieve a full unity with the civil sword. The two always wrestled against each other. The civil sword of politics on one hand, organic church people on the other, and in the middle: a harlot that the beast didn’t tolerate one minute longer than it had to.

        The new debate isn’t between futurism and preterism. That was 20 years ago. Post-futurists are more likely to become Postmillenial Protestant Historicists, if anything. As futurism wanes, there is nowhere else to go other than Organic/Historicism or Preterism. But Preterism (even partial-Preterism) seems to lack a proper definition of “the temple of God” post-Pentecost.

        The truth must be told, about HOW Jesus reigns. Jesus PERSONALLY CAME for a PERSONAL PEOPLE, who want to follow after Him. The Spirit comes and goes where it wills, and so too is everyone born of the Spirit. No empire (or institution) can contain us – other than Jesus Himself. “The rules” come to our hearts in a more organically relational way than the civil sword (or institutional rules) can even accomplish.

        The Reformation is about to enter its external completion. The sooner we re-organize ourselves in order to remain effective and in-line with Biblical truth… the better. We have to be able to PREACH STRAIGHT about the Way of Salvation, even if we have no political power, or building to go to. Right now, at least half of our power-to-organize remains caught up with what happens inside the 4 walls of a Constantinian church edifice. Right now, it looks as if the Chinese “family church” would probably have a thing or two to teach the Westerners about real church life.

        We are nearing the end of Revelation. We may be in Revelation 14… or just entering 17… who knows. But it’s pretty clear to me the obvious truth that the identity of the “man of sin” is pretty obvious. It can’t get bigger than the Papacy and the Roman Emperors (historically). And since he sits “in the Temple” claiming to have authority over all that is “called God”… I dare say that it’s the Papacy. And it is impossible for the papacy to again grow (in monopolistic power) as large as it did about 1000 years ago. So that time is PAST. What we’re facing is the external recognition (en masse) that The Old has ended and The New has come… when the transition really occurred about 1980 years ago.

      • E Harris says:

        Maybe the lack of “balance” that the preacher is being charged with… is perhaps due to him not being “personal” enough in his message? We can teach about the law, or about the grace of God. But if we don’t understand HOW God grants grace to people, then the message is askew. God does not grant grace through an institution of men, or church practices, or the law. He grants grace to people by grace through faith… and everything else is a working out of that saving grace.

        He is Lord and Head of us each individually and personally. He is Head of His Bride/Body. And when He brings us together, we all have something to share, mutually. The more mature are the elders among us, who help to guide the minds and hearts of those who are younger or more immature. And the Spirit gives gifts as He wishes, and we each have differing strengths/weaknesses in which we receive what God can offer us.

      • David says:

        I beg to disagree, but it’s late and my daughter is still not asleep. I’ll come back to your topic later. Thanks!

      • Rich says:

        E Harris,

        WOW, so much to deal with and comment to I hardly know where to start. I agreed with much of your words and disagreed with much too.

        It is true that Jesus is coming back, after all of his enemies have been placed under his feet

        Jesus has already come back and defeated all His enemies, death being the last; unless you don’t think you currenlty have “life” in Christ now. Surely you’re not still waiting for it are you?

        It is also true that what we think of as the “institutional church” came from the Mother of them all

        I agree 100% there.

        The Mother of Harlots (The Holy Roman Empire OR the Roman Catholic Church… take your pick.)

        Disagree 100% here. The Revelation was completed in AD70, thus the Catholic Church is n where in view. While David Chilton was not a full preterist (which I am) at the time he wrote his commentary on Revelation, I still highly recommend it to all because he does have 95% of it right. To bad he was not able to live long enough to update it after realizing the truth of Full Preterism. Anyway, you should check it out. It’s call The Days of Vengenance. You can even get it free as a PDF here.

        http://freebooks.entrewave.com/freebooks/docs/2226_47e.htm

        Revelation is the true tale of two Cities. The physical Jerusalem’s destruction and the Victroy or Consummation of the new (spiritual) Heavenly Jerusalem just as you stated, “As a consequence of this, a lot of the physical metaphore of the OT must be fully understood in its spiritual intent for today.” (actually all of it is). It’s clear in Heb. 12:22 that the Heavenly Jerusalem was already present then in the 1st century, but its consummation was not until the old had been completely removed in AD 70. See Heb. 8:13, Gal. 4:21-27 (perfect text showing the periond of time (40 years) where the two overlapped), & Rev. 21:2

        “Are we really to believe that the “temple of God” referred to here is the pre AD70 Jewish temple?”

        Yes.

        Preterism (or partial preterism) has no answer to this challenge

        Not sure what you mean here. Could you clarify?

        We must be willing to Re-Form our external structures (and opinions) yet again, to line up with the truth in the Bible: that WE ARE the Temple

        “The church will benefit when institutional thinkers (such as Marinov) begin to see the truth about the IDENTITY of the Biblical Temple in the NT and Revelation.

        AMEN and AMEN! I find it amazing that the NT can be so loud and clear about what God’s temple is yet Christendom continues to build more “temples”, and treat them as such.

      • E Harris says:

        Rich, I’m chewing on everything else you said… but there’s one thing I KNOW (and it is SOLID BIBLE).

        THE temple OF GOD, in 2 Thessalonians (or anywhere after Pentecost) CANNOT BE the Jewish temple. God wouldn’t establish His Name on something that was clearly continued to be used in rejection of His Self-Revelation. This wasn’t a fake temple OF GOD. It was a real temple OF GOD. But not just that: it was THE temple. There’s only 1. Yet, there’s two. There’s a Body, and there’s a brick building. Which is it? After Pentecost, it becomes pretty clear which it is…and the theology of the NT reflects this shift…and the activity of the early christians reflects this shift. Well before AD70- and the complete destruction of The Old – the transition had already taken place. And that was THE REASON for the punishment…those who didn’t follow The New (inner, real life) didn’t get to continue in the shadow of what once was provided.

        For the sake of clear Biblical meaning, THE temple OF GOD is the Body of Christ. It’s an EXCITING fact, that still bears relevance today. It’s good New Testament theology. But a comprehensive confession of this, would have the side-effect of entirely re-mapping most eschatological views… This is why few preachers have dared to address “the elephant in the room” in a comprehensive way. Your prophetic scenario (and much of your preaching and relationship to God) hinge on what you think of THE temple OF GOD.

        And if THE temple is the Body (which is organic)… upon what financial foundation do we rest our buildings and the money that we would receive from tithing?

        This is what stands in the way of a proper eschatology.

        Look at how Jesus led, when He walked among us. Should the best of us do anything less than Jesus or Paul?

      • Rich says:

        E Harris,

        THE temple OF GOD, in 2 Thessalonians (or anywhere after Pentecost) CANNOT BE the Jewish temple. God wouldn’t establish His Name on something that was clearly continued to be used in rejection of His Self-Revelation

        yes and no. Is it not clear that James, John, and Peter who lived in Jerusalem continued to follow the Law and use the physical temple in Jerusalem? A simply survey of the book of Acts shows this to be true. Even Paul when he came to Jerusalem cut his hair per the law to make a vow in the Temple. This is because the Law was not gone as of yet. Israel was still under the Law. The believers merely followed the Law per its true intent. They understood being in Covenant with God was not dependent upon ones work of following that Law, but was by faith in Christ.

        The Law, the temple, the Sacrifices etc etc. are all outward manifestations of the Old Covenant. Starting with the Cross of Christ the old covenant (which contains all the above) started to fade away. This is why Heb. 8:13 states, “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

        Notice it was in process of being removed. It was not gone as of yet, but it had become obsolete. It was growing old, but not gone yet. It was ready to vanish away, but still there.

        This can all be presented via many NT passages, but there is one passage where Paul sums up the process of how it was all happening and being worked out in his day. There was a period of time where the two covenants over lapped. This was the 40 years between the Cross and AD 70. These 40 years are the antetype to Israel’s 40 years in the desert. Moving from slavery to the Promise Land with only a remnant making it through. In the NT, Israel was moving from Slavery (sin) to the Promise Land (new Jerusalem) with only a remnant making it through (Paul’s remnant in Romans).

        Gal. 4:21-31

        Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written,

        “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!

        For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

        Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, SO ALSO IT IS NOW</i?. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

        Notice that two women (the two covenants) lived together in Abraham’s house until one (Hagar – old covenant) was kicked out. While they were living together one son (children of one covenant -fleshly Israel) persecuted the other (children of the other covenant -spiritual Israel). This is what was taking place then in Paul’s day. Those clinging to the Old was persecuting the children of the New, UNTIL the old was destroyed. Then the children of the New would inherit the Kingdom. This happened in AD 70, when the Old Covenant and its children were cast out (destroyed).

        This transition period pertains to many other events too, even the Resurrection. This is why in 1 Cor. 15 Paul uses the present passives throughout the text. It’s masked in our translations, but nonetheless the Greek is plain. So verses like 1 Cor. 15:35 that reads, “But some will ask, How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”, should read “How are the dead being raised, and with what body are them coming in?”. Of course the first thing Christendom needs to lose is it false concept of bodily resurrection. While Christendom looks for our physical bodies to be raised, the Scriptures do not. The only body that is raised is the Body of Christ. The Corinthians were asking Paul what body was OT saints going to be raised in? They knew those who died in Christ (their fellow Christians who were believers in Christ but had since physical died), but they were confused about the OT saints who died long before Christ had even appeared. Anyway, much can be said concerning 1 Cor. 15, which I don’t have the time to expound upon. For a great commentary on 1 Cor. 15 see Max King’s book The Cross and the Parousia of Christ.

        Have much more to say about your position concerning the Temple, but I’ll have to stop here.

  11. David Smith says:

    Indeed, another good article, brother. There are so many pastors who will have American flags in the sanctuary, preach sermons honoring the troops, expressing gratitude for the liberties won during our Revolution, and yet they balk at saying anything they regard as “political”. C’mon, people, let’s be consistent! Either denounce our colonial forbears and founders as apostate, heretical – whatever – for their “rebellion” against King George and Parliament, or recognize that we have an obligation, as the Black Regiment did, to preach and apply the Gospel to all areas of our lives, including politics.

    Incidentally, I understand John McArthur condemns our founders’ actions in rebelling against Great Britain. While I disagree with his conclusion, I can at least respect him for his consistency here.

    • David says:

      We attend a Reformed church, but I think that our pastors are afraid of losing their tax-exempt status or are afraid they will drive away potential but not yet Christians. I’ve had one-on-one discussions with them, and they personally agree with me on cultural and political topics, but it doesn’t carry over to the pulpit.

  12. Malcolm Kinsinger says:

    Good article. I agree with everything except you saying the world is getting more anti-Christian. This goes against the scripture, “Of the increase of His kingdom and peace there shall be no end.” Somehow God is blessing the faithfulness of parishioners even though many are getting bad teaching. When I was in China a woman from the countryside came to me to pump me for Bible information. She told me that when she returns to her home church in the country, they want to know what she learned in the city. She then said that her church in the country meets every day from 8 to 9:30 at night. Christianity in China is exploding now reaching 200,000,000 adherents.

    • Malcolm, trust me, I most heartily agree with you. In fact, I wrote an article before about that:

      A “Post-Christian World” and a “Post-Mom Home”

      I only meant it in a relative sense:

      And then WE WONDER . . . why the world is getting more and more anti-Christian. . . .

    • E Harris says:

      wow!! Awesome.

    • Rich says:

      ““Of the increase of His kingdom and peace there shall be no end.”

      The problem is most define this in a physical sense, like a numbers thing relative to the population of the world. I don’t see it that way, nor does Scriptures. That comes from false understanding of the Kingdom. The fact that people have been coming into the Body of Christ every since the 1st century shows his kingdom increases. One doesn’t cease from being in the Kingdom when he physical dies. Thus, even if the whole world became unchristian and then only one person came to Christ every 200 years, his Kingdom would be increasing. Someday people are going to have to let go of the physical. You will never be able to say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Lk. 17:21

      The Kingdom is here in its fullness now. You are already in the New Heavens and Earth, living in the New Jerusalem. Enjoy being in the presence of the Father. Past generations (pre AD 70) never had that position.

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