Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shepherd's Conference

The first day of the Shepherd's Conference is over and the highlight was CJ Mahaney's message last night on Isaiah 66:1-2 on humility. I had heard a version of it before on CD years ago, but it is a tribute to the preacher and more importantly to the Word of God to gladly listen to the same message again. And I was definitely glad to hear it.

When I first heard the message, not only did I pass it around our church but I also contacted CJ and asked if he would contribute a chapter on humility to the book, Dear Timothy. He graciously agreed and that book became significantly better because of it. Later, at the encouragement of Mark Dever, CJ developed this theme even further by writing, Humility, True Greatness. If you have not read that book, you should do so before the month is over.

Steve Lawson preached in the afternoon on Peter's sermon from Acts 2. It was very good and pointed on the importance careful, pastoral, Christ-centered and applicatory preaching.

John MacArthur started the conference with his talk on Pre-millennialism. Tim Challies has given a very gracious summary of his words, and I echo his advice to "buy the CD." Like Tim, and countless others, I was surprised by Dr. MacArthur's choice of this topic in this venue. It was a very aggressive presentation of his view of eschatology. Some who are not pre-mill were offended by some of the unqualified, universal statements about those in history and on the contemporary scene who do disagree with this view. The Q and A times today and tomorrow ought to be very interesting.

CJ Mahaney turned the issue, which nearly everyone is talking about, into an occasion for humor as he began last night. As a fill in for John Piper, who is burying his father in South Carolina, CJ said something like, "No matter what your eschatology, I don't think anyone could have seen this [his preaching at the Shepherd's Conference] coming!" He said that MacArthur's invitation to him to preach in his church last year had turned him into a "post-millennialist," because it is the only theological construct that makes sense of what has happened in the two of them developing a friendship. It was good stuff, timely, and very disarming.

Today, Ligon Duncan starts things off. The question on many peoples' minds is this: Will he address the millennial issue as a non-premil guy?

31 comments:

scripturesearcher said...

Well, well, well ~

Until Christ comes there will be differences of opinion between non-millennial, post-millennial,
pre-millennial (historial, classical and dispensational), pan-millennial, and pro-millennial students of Biblical eschatology.

I jokingly tell those with views that differ from mine and the Lord's that they can be wrong if they do desire.

Proverb 17:22

Clay said...

I have always been bothered by MacArthur's dogmatic stance on eschatology. He has it to the point where it is nailed air tight in their church's doctrinal statement.

I don't know of many others who are as forceful in their views on end times like MacArthur to the extent that you have to hold to their view or cannot teach in their church. I think this is too dogmatic on a non-essential detail of theology.

How about a series of posts outlining the various views and have guest posts defending the various views?

chadwick said...

Its confusing to see how MacArthur, so full of the Puritans [Covenant Theology], can actually be "rapture-ready."

Stephen Thomas said...

I've seen a lot of churches that make dispensational premillennialism a prerequesite for teaching or even membership. Oddly enough, I have never ever seen a postmil or amil version of that sort of stance. The closest would be churches that allow postmil, amil, historicl premil, but not dispensationalism. But that is still a lot more inclusive than the dispy-onlyites.

DoGLover said...

Tom, can you recommend some good resources that would show how the major proponents of each eschatological view handle key texts related to Christ's return? Thanks.

LeeC said...

chadwick said...
Its confusing to see how MacArthur, so full of the Puritans [Covenant Theology], can actually be "rapture-ready."

Unless a man is convicted by what he reads in Scripture over what he reads from men. And no I am not saying that if you don't agree with Pastor MacArthurs stance you dont hold to Sola Fide, but I am saying that far too often we are slavish in our adherance to what those before us taught.

My few disagreements with some camps of reformed theology is that they refuse to keep reforming. As if Calvin and Luther fully grasped the mind of God and we should examine the Scriptures no further, when in reality they both had many things of the R.C. still clinging to them. Keep reforming until you have fully attained it.

Your Brother in Christ,
Lee

Tony said...

Sam Storms had a good article in one of his newsletter that asked: Was Jesus an Amillennialist? (Rev. 2.26-29). As the article was in a newsletter I had to copy it to my blog so you can read it here: Did Jesus Have an Eschatological View

I have noticed that conversations between those that hold to some form of Dispensationalism and others views are more heated than between the other views themselves. For some reason dispensationalists are very adamant about their views but this does not mean that Amil, Post-Mil and Historic-Pre are any less convinced it just seems that the conversations are different.

James Kime said...

Clay, should MacArthur not teach or preach what he really believes? Since he has a position, wouldn't that mean that he believes other positions are wrong?

By the way, who are you to determine what is essential and what isn't? Talk about a slippery slope.

Arthur Sido said...

James,

Sure MacArthur should teach and preach what he believes the Bible teaches, as should others. The issue is not so much with the message as the delivery. The tone of what MacArthur was claiming was strident and almost shrill. In one fell swoop he discounted the belief of countless fellow laborers in Christ who do not hold to the dispensational position. A far better method of addressing and starting a conversation about the end times would be a civilized discussion between Reformed, God fearing men who hold different positions: historic premil, dispensational, Amil, postmil in the same manner as Al Mohler and Paige Patterson on Calvinism, which could serve as a springboard for honest discussion. Instead MacArthur chose to make inflammatory statements that have ignited a number of less than charitable arguments all over the blogosphere, many of which have your name attached.

Clay said...

James,
What I am referring to is a narrowing of the peramaters in basic nonessential matters. Churches have the right to draw up thier own theological statement any way they choose, but this matter is one that is not necessary to draw lines in this area.

This is not a slippery slope issue. This is a matter of speaking where scripture speaks and being silent where it is silent. There are too many good, scripture soaked individuals who differ on this matter that I think it is unwise and frankly a bit arrogant to seal off any areas of disagreement over this issue.

Think about this, John Piper could not teach Sunday school in MacArthur's church. How can that be healthy?

Andrew said...

Sounds like the real disagreement is not about which eschatology but whether eschatology is important enough to concern us at all.

If I can make a broad sweeping unqualified and unfair generalization - premillennials are less likely to concede that God left the ending unclear. They typically view it as more significant than do postmills & amills. (*bracing myself for battering*)

It's a broad generalization. There are many exceptions, but on the whole it rings true. The frowning faces of amills at the "air tight"-ness of Macarthur’s eschatology are offered as evidence.

From Challies post, it sounds like THIS was the thrust of Macarthur’s sermon. It is not okay, especially for Calvinists, to regard eschatology as insignificant. Maybe Macarthur felt he needed to lob a few grenades at the amill camp to stir them up and get them to address the subject in a meaningful way. Conversation = a good thing.

Anyway, we do well to guard our comments until the mp3 or transcript of the sermon is available (unless you are attending the Shepherd's Conference). The advice from Challies and Tom: "buy the CD".

T-Bone said...

Andrew,

I would absolutely echo your statement! That's exactly it. MacArthur was calling people to give this a more serious consideration, rather than just saying, "well, the Bible doesn't cover this as broadly, so it isn't important to nail down."

I think what he was calling for was a greater dedication to figuring this out and applying a consistent interpretation. I think he's tired of hearing people say that your eschatology isn't that important and people are a little too quick to agree to disagree.

Arthur Sido said...

Andrew,

You said…
>> Maybe Macarthur felt he needed to lob a few grenades at the amill camp to stir them up and get them to address the subject in a meaningful way.<<

Are you really suggesting that amillennials don’t take eschatology seriously or that amils don’t interact with eschatological passages in a meaningful way? Because it sounds kind of like that is what you are saying, which is a gross misrepresentation. I will admit that I personally need to study eschatology more deeply, but to imply that the amillennial camp has failed to do serious, scholarly work is flat out wrong. Unless your point is that everyone who “seriously” studies eschatology *must* come down in the dispensational camp? Take a gander at monergism.com’s sections on eschatology, covenant theology and dispensationalism and you may be surprised to see just how seriously non-dispensationalists take eschatology. I will reiterate my point from above, if MacArthur’s intent was to start a conversation, someone of his stature in the church should have been able to find a better way to do so. Had he arranged a conference on eschatology and invited speakers, he would have attracted the finest minds in the church, just based on his standing and the respect that others have for him.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Arthur,
I speculated about Macarthur’s intentions, because “love hopes all things” (1 Cor 13:7). Love gives the benefit of the doubt. Note: his intentions, not mine. You seem to have made me the author of his sermon, which I have neither hear nor read!!!

You said
Are you really suggesting that amillennials don’t take eschatology seriously or that amils don’t interact with eschatological passages in a meaningful way? Because it sounds kind of like that is what you are saying, which is a gross misrepresentation. I will admit that I personally need to study eschatology more deeply, but to imply that the amillennial camp has failed to do serious, scholarly work is flat out wrong. Unless your point is that everyone who “seriously” studies eschatology *must* come down in the dispensational camp?
Now reread what I actually said. You are chasing a ghost. How did I “imply that the amillennial camp has failed to do serious scholarly work?” Where did I even mention dispensationalism? Are we speaking the same language?

What I said is that premillennials, on the whole, place eschatology at a higher importance than do amils and postmils. That is, they are less likely to agree to disagree. They are more likely to actually describe their eschatology in their church’s statement of faith. They are more likely to actually teach eschatology in depth and with conviction. In short, they believe it’s important to “get it right” and not just let it drift in ambiguity.

I said this is a broad generalization. Maybe you/your amil church is different. Maybe your amil pastor encourages the study of last things and he teaches on the subject with clarity and regularity. It matters to him. That is terrific. And unusual.

I never said anything about what amil academians have published or how scholarly is this view or that view. At the pastoral/local church/laity level, the interaction is rare. All too often the response of amils is “Let’s agree to disagree. It’s a non-essential. If you’re dedicated to getting it right and want to persuade others, then… you’re probably wasting too much time on it.”

Take a gander at monergism.com’s sections on eschatology, covenant theology and dispensationalism and you may be surprised to see just how seriously non-dispensationalists take eschatology.

Been there many times. That’s because I’m premil, so of course I am concerned enough to study it (joke). Look, if you want to say that amils *on the WHOLE* are as dedicated to the study of eschatology as premills, then we are at an impasse. We can agree to disagree about that (pun intended!) I just wish I could locate all these amils who really want to discuss Revelation and explain their allegories about the trumpets, bowls and seals. I must be looking in the wrong places.

I will reiterate my point from above, if MacArthur’s intent was to start a conversation, someone of his stature in the church should have been able to find a better way to do so. Had he arranged a conference on eschatology and invited speakers, he would have attracted the finest minds in the church, just based on his standing and the respect that others have for him.

In response to this criticism, I reiterate my warning from above: we do well to guard our comments until the mp3 or transcript of the sermon is available Until then, all of the criticism is just poisoning the well against giving him a fair listen to. Bias the listeners against the message before it’s available to them. If it’s as bad as some have claimed, then this tactic is not necessary. It should be a slam dunk.

Andrew said...

T-bone,
Exactly right! If we were to "rank" the importance of doctrines, how would we rank them? We can all agree that scripture alone, penal substitutionary atonement, and faith alone (among others) all rank at the top. But where does eschatology rank? Too many Calvinists rank it on the bottom or near the bottom. And that is not consistent with Scripture. Rev 1:3... Jesus singles out eschatology as something especially important. Jesus says this is something so important that we should seek diligently to "nail it down".

scripturesearcher said...

I want to write it again -

I jokingly tell those with views on eschatalogy that differ from mine (and the Lord's) that they can be wrong if they so desire.

And many have and many more will continue but they are my brothers and sisters in Christ and I adamantly refuse to make my correct views on future events a test of Christian fellowship and/or
orthodoxy.

Let us all practice tolerance and wait until Christ returns to prove
that many of His disciples were right and many of His disciples were wrong.

Continue to search the scriptures, which I have done for 54 years, state your eschatalogical position and allow others to express theirs without bitterness and unkindness.

Some are wrong and Christ will
reveal that in His own time!

He is coming! Let's love, honor, obey and serve Him until He does!

Andrew said...

I whole heartedly agree with Scripture Searcher and "refuse to make my correct views on future events a test of Christian fellowship and/or
orthodoxy." If that was not clear in my earlier post, I meant for it to be.

GUNNY said...

Clay wrote:
"I have always been bothered by MacArthur's dogmatic stance on eschatology."

This made me smile. I love John MacArthur, but have never known him to be less than dogmatic on anything! In fact, that's what many love about him. ; )

Later Clay wrote:
"Think about this, John Piper could not teach Sunday school in MacArthur's church. How can that be healthy?"

Good point. That seems absurd on some level, but at the same time, Jonathan Edwards could not join a Baptist church, unless he was willing to undergo a believer's baptism.

Some of my buddies were at the conference and are not premill; they were quite tender.

Even as an historic premill guy, I might have thought it "out of line," but it's not surprising. I've heard Johnny Mac make similar statements and this is essentially his conference.

Now, I would have found it shocking to hear of such at T4G last year or on amill or postmill turf.

Eschatology is important, but it's not easy to grasp. I think all our theology should have a humility about it, but that area in particular seems particularly fertile for such a need.

Thanks for sharing Tom and thanks for the Founders get together. My boys enjoyed it and I wish I could have been there.

Let us know if you're ever passing through Dallas anytime.

Go Ags! Final Four, here we come.

LeeC said...

Clay wrote:
"Think about this, John Piper could not teach Sunday school in MacArthur's church. How can that be healthy?"

It wouldn't be. It's also a misrepresentation of what Dr. MacArthur said. Try not to read into it what wasn't there. ;-)

James Kime said...

How many people in the reformed tradition do not think the bible speaks clearly on eschatology (roughly 25% of the bible)?

How many of these same people in the reformed tradition think that the bible speaks clearly on the covenant of works theory (roughly 0% of the bible)?

Arthur Sido said...

Andrew,

You said

>>Now reread what I actually said. You are chasing a ghost. How did I imply that the amillennial camp has failed to do serious scholarly work? Where did I even mention dispensationalism? Are we speaking the same language?<<

The issue at hand is MacArthur and dispensationalism, which is why I directed my comments to that camp and continue to do so. None of your comments differentiate between Amil laity/pastors and Amil scholars, as you said it was a broad generalization and if you wish to avoid being misunderstood, it would be helpful to be more precise. To suggest that premils view the end-times as “more significant than do postmills & amills” (your words) and then act aggrieved when someone questions your self-described broad generalizations is disingenuous.

>>I said this is a broad generalization. Maybe you/your amil church is different. Maybe your amil pastor encourages the study of last things and he teaches on the subject with clarity and regularity. It matters to him. That is terrific. And unusual.<<

As a matter of fact I preach and teach on all manner of eschatological issues from the pulpit, especially as it relates to the nature of Israel. I don’t preach eschatological sermons per se, as I prefer to preach entire books of the Bible rather than specific topics, but when the Word interacts with the end-times I give it the due attention it deserves.

>>I never said anything about what amil academians have published or how scholarly is this view or that view. At the pastoral/local church/laity level, the interaction is rare. All too often the response of amils is Let’s agree to disagree. It’s a non-essential. If you’re dedicated to getting it right and want to persuade others, then you’re probably wasting too much time on it.<<

Your brush is getting broader by the minute. I think you may be confusing enthusiasm for accuracy. The basis for Biblical fidelity is not the volume or the boldness of the argument. See for example Acts 18: 24-26

24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Apollos was a sincere believer, and bold in his declarations, but that didn’t mean he was beyond correction. Note I am NOT suggesting that dispensationalists are analogous to Apollos , only that we ought not judge the merits of a position by enthusiasm or unanimity (“premillennials...are less likely to agree to disagree”), but rather by the Word of God.

My comments are based on the postings from those who attended the conference, including Jason Robertson at Fide-O, Tim Challies and right from the Pulpit Magazine blog, which is a semi-official MacArthur publication. I haven’t had the chance to listen to the sermon yet, as I am traveling on business, but I intend to. If I am wrong about the tone and substance of what MacArthur taught, rest assured that I will retract any criticism that I have leveled against him (although not against dispensationalism as a whole)

Samuel J Bell III said...

I had hoped to stay out of this conversation.... But due to some of the statements that have been made I cant help but put my two cents in. First I would like to say the majority Postmill and amill are on fire about what they belive. I for one am adamit about what believe as are some other men if you look outside of the Baptist faith. Gentry and Sproul to name two. I challange us as baptist not to be so narrow mindded. Also I wonder sometimes how I ever belived in a eschatology that does not have it roots in reformed or orthodox teaching. Dispenstionism was started by Darby and gained a mass following with the Scofield referance Bible. I for one as a calivnst would have a hard time seperating the people of God and saying that God went to plan "B" because the Jews killed Christ.
I dont know mabye I am worng but these and other things convinced me of the post-mill stance. oh well if any one wants to know more resons why I belive in the Post-mill stance. Go to my Blog samtheman.blogspot.com
I am asking that the pre-disps cool off and not make acusation tords the Amill and postmillcamps. I will let you in on a little secret we are quiet about these things because you dont want to sound arogant and we dont want to make you fell like you cant fellowship with us. We should studie these thing but what ever stance we come to we are all still Brothers in Christ. As long as we remain othodox. I hope this cools some of the heads in here and brings us back to a united front.
rember that the salvation of soul and the doctrines grace Should be at the for front of our thoughts and minds. Besides not one of the many church fathers aggreed on eveysingle point about this issue.
Well I have rambeld on long enough till I appear again.
SOLAS

Andrew said...

FYI did not intend to get in some lengthy discussion about this. But since my short comment prompted a series of bizarre questions I thought it wise to respond and clarify!

Arthur,
You are italics. I am in quotes.

You said
The issue at hand is MacArthur and dispensationalism, which is why I directed my comments to that camp and continue to do so.
Huh? Recap: MacArthur’s sermon was squarely focused on premillennialism (he goes out of his way to say this). The questions you asked me are not about dispensationalism either. Perhaps you have a bone to pick! You have imagined a wholesale import of dispensationalism into all of my comments and MacArthur’s sermon. Behind every dark corner there is a dispensationalist plotting som evil. Did dispensationalists cause hurricane Katrina? ACK! They’re everywhere!!

If you don’t have a bone to pick, then why are you so convinced I’m a dispensationalist?


To suggest that premils view the end-times as “more significant than do postmills & amills” (your words)…

You pulled my words out of context. They were part of a coherent thought. I offered up this example to clarify what I meant:
“…the frowning faces of amills at the "air tight"-ness of Macarthur’s eschatology are offered as evidence.”

Does that sound like I’m talking about scholars? It doesn’t to me. My point (clue: this is another clarification) is that dogged, enthusiastic clarity and specificity is the hallmark of premillennial belief – not amil. It is still a broad generalization and I still think it’s true. “Teenagers in red sports cars drive too fast” is a generalization. Please do not accuse me of slandering your teenage cousin who drives safely in his red sports car. You are altogether missing the truth contained within the statement.

…and then act aggrieved when someone questions your self-described broad generalizations is disingenuous.

…Acting? Disingenuous? You know the motives of my heart. That is amazing!

Now to be serious. You didn’t “question” Arthur. You accused. There’s a difference.

Your long-winded unfounded accusation:
Are you really suggesting that amillennials don’t take eschatology seriously or that amils don’t interact with eschatological passages in a meaningful way? Because it sounds kind of like that is what you are saying, which is a gross misrepresentation. I will admit that I personally need to study eschatology more deeply, but to imply that the amillennial camp has failed to do serious, scholarly work is flat out wrong. Unless your point is that everyone who “seriously” studies eschatology *must* come down in the dispensational camp?”

So by generalizing, I either made a gross misrepresentation or I’m guilty of (insert paranoia about dispensationalism here). Do I understand you correctly Arthur?

I clarified in the next 4 sentences, but for some reason you did not read on. Or you read my words and somehow saw a “dispensationalist conspiracy”. Or perhaps your first language is Chinese. I’m trying to extend grace here. Because nothing in my comment has anything to do with amill scholars or their sincerity. Or dispensationalism. But somehow I got accused for dabbling in these things!

The clarification I gave:
“Premillennials, on the whole… are less likely to agree to disagree. They are more likely to actually describe their eschatology in their church’s statement of faith. They are more likely to actually teach eschatology in depth and with conviction. In short, they believe it’s important to “get it right” and not just let it drift in ambiguity.”

Your perplexing response:
if you wish to avoid being misunderstood, it would be helpful to be more precise.

I only restated it in four different ways! And you respond by asking me about dispyism! How does a person become so confused?

This was the clincher:
Your brush is getting broader by the minute. I think you may be confusing enthusiasm for accuracy.

No, actually THAT IS MY POINT. I’ve been talking about enthusiasm all along. NOT accuracy. For some reason you imported all these wild ideas into the phrase “more significant”. But if you will extend just an iota of grace and READ my words in context you see I am talking about enthusiasm, dogmatism, unwillingness to accept ambiguity, and a determination to “get it right” with as much clarity as in other doctrines. Premillennialists are less likely to say “let’s agree to disagree” about the detailed revelation that God has spelled out in His Word.

Is that okay?

You said:
The basis for Biblical fidelity is not the volume or the boldness of the argument.(Acts 18: 24-26)… we ought not judge the merits of a position by enthusiasm or unanimity (“premillennials...are less likely to agree to disagree”), but rather by the Word of God.

Again, I was not referring to accuracy/fidelity. But in any case, you certainly don’t get Biblical fidelity by deemphasizing a doctrine. You might get it with enthusiasm. You’ll never get it if it’s reprioritized to obscurity.

About unanimity, you misunderstood. I’m not talking about Premillennials agreeing to disagree with each other! I’m talking about Premillennials not agreeing to disagree with Amil/PostMil/OtherMils. That is why you never see any Amillennial Prophecy Conferences. There’s not enough enthusiasm among Amils to persuade others (whom they profess to misunderstand prophecy!)

Anyhow, I think it’s terrific that you are not content to let your eschatology float around in ambiguity, and that you believe it’s a significant part of God’s revelation. I personally would really like to hear an amill preach straight through Zechariah or Ezekiel and explain with specificity how these things were fulfilled.

Samuel said:
I will let you in on a little secret we are quiet about these things because you dont want to sound arogant and we dont want to make you fell like you cant fellowship with us.

Samuel, I liked everything you said except this "secret" which is well known and in my opinion not so helpful! Jesus didn't worry about sounding arrogant in Matt 24-25 :) I like you, have been blessed by many of your comments on this blog, and would consider it a privelege to fellowship with you. But your eschatology is messed up! Are my last 2 sentences contradictory to you? Because I totally meant them from a sincere heart! Godly love doesn't stay quiet or wink at the teaching of error.

Samuel J Bell III said...

Andrew said... "Anyhow, I think it’s terrific that you are not content to let your eschatology float around in ambiguity, and that you believe it’s a significant part of God’s revelation. I personally would really like to hear an amill preach straight through Zechariah or Ezekiel and explain with specificity how these things were fulfilled."


I dont know about the amill camp but I think Post-mills have done this or have used these passages to show that there is prophetic language in use here not a wodden literalistic use as some a content to use them. I want to ask you is God actualy came on the clouds "literaly" in the following passages.
Exd 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Exd 13:22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, [from] before the people.

Exd 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

Exd 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

Exd 14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

Exd 16:10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

Exd 19:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.

Exd 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.

Exd 24:15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.

Exd 24:16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

Exd 24:18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Exd 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

Exd 40:34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

Exd 40:35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

Exd 40:36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:

Exd 40:37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.

Exd 40:38 For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

Lev 16:2 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy [place] within the vail before the mercy seat, which [is] upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

Lev 16:13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that [is] upon the testimony, that he die not:

Num 9:15 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, [namely], the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.

Num 9:16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it [by day], and the appearance of fire by night.

Num 9:17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.

So I ask you Andrew was God literal there or is this firguaitve language. I understand God is omnipresent. But if you remember when The Bible talks about Christ comeing on the clouds it says in Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Also the Bible states that: Exd 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
So I ask is this literal or is it figuative. Also I you could tell me who you have read on the post mill frount. That tells you Iam in error. I feel you are in error but I have the right to be. I am just as confident that your eschatology is "messed up" as you are of mine.
Oh well Till next time
Solas

Samuel J Bell III said...

I said:"I feel you are in error but I have the right to be. I am just as confident that your eschatology is "messed up" as you are of mine.
Oh well Till next time
Solas"

What i ment to say was : I fell you are in error but you have that right. I am just as confident that your eschatology is "Messed Up" as you are of mine. Oh well till next time
Solas

Sorry about that my mouse got ahead oh me sometimes it has amind of its own.

Andrew said...

Samuel,
I'm not nearly concerned about your postmillennial belief as I am that you might keep it a secret! I would rather engage in dialog on prophecy in another forum. Good questions though :)

The reason I said your eschatology is messed up was to emphasize that this is a very weighty matter, and for a Premil such as myself to be indifferent to your error is sinful! At the same time I would never make it a cause for disfellowship. Salvation is by grace through faith alone. Period! (With or without good hermeneutics!)

I do not think that eschatology should be governed by the Rodney King principle: "Awww, Can't we all just get alonnnnng?" If "getting along" means being silent, then absolutely not. Would we be silent about ecclesiology that dishonors God? What about infant baptism - would we wink at the misuse of an ordinance given by our Lord? Yes we must be loving, patient, gracious, and forbearing - but never silent about the truth revealed in God's Word.

I think we can agree to this: It is not right that anyone should de-prioritize 25% of the Bible. God has not revealed to us so many meticulous details of prophecy so that the Church would shrug her shoulders and say "well, whatever".

We go to great lengths to make careful and subtle distinctions in our soteriology, Christology, hamartiology, pneumatology... even ecclesiology! Why should eschatology be placed on the back burner? This does not honor God!

Blessings,

~Andrew

Clay said...

leec,
I know MacArthur may not have said that during his recent talk, but check out his church's statement of faith. You have to agree with every point of that doctrinal statement, then you are not allowed to teach in thier church. That being said, it eliminates Piper from teaching the 6th grade boys Sunday School class!

LeeC said...

Clay,

From the first Q&A from the Pulpit Live blog on the topic.

"3. How should we interact with our amill brethren? Should we invite them to teach or preach in our local churches?

We would consider eschatology to be a secondary doctrine (in the spirit of Al Mohler’s theological triage). We believe its implications are considerable, since it effects how one interprets roughly one-fourth of the Bible. But we would not exempt godly men, who are committed to the essentials of the gospel, from being guests in our pulpit simply because we disagree with them on this issue."

We should be careful before making such assertions.

bristopoly said...

The problem with the whole Premill, Amill, Postmill thing is that it is looking to read apocalyptic texts like Daniel and Revelation as though they are historical narrative. This is especially true of the Premill position (I mean the dispensational Premill position) because its "literal" reading of the Bible ends up being "what the text sounds like its saying to me" rather than what the images means to its historic audience. But they all fall prey to this time setting (more so since the Enlightenment and beyond, which cares much more about dates whereas the earlier periods (although caring somewhat about them) did not emphasize them to the same degree. The emphasis for them was on the theology of the texts, not some idea of a literal future.
It seems to me that the people who care most about "time periods" are the people who understand the least about it. For instance, in apocalyptic literature (as well as generally in the Bible) the number seven isn't usually literal, but represents the time of sanctification of something, which ends in its complete cleansing. Hence, the 7 churches in Rev 2-3 represent the whole NT Church from the time of its beginning to the end of the age, not just seven churches. (Are the churches real? Yes, but the Scripture uses history to teach theology, so they are just historical pictures constructed for the purpose of teaching theology.)
If this is true, the the "seven years" of the dispensational camp is meant to convey the entire time period of the church on earth (it is always in persecution and tribulation), not some literal seven years in the future for which we need to wait.
So the people who keep saying that eschatology is 25% of the Bible are confused between seeing the Bible concerned 25% of the time with the theology of eschatology with the idea that the Bible is concerned with particular timelines 25% of the time. That's a HUGE difference that usually modern hermeneutics don't allow us to make because of our scientific worldview (i.e., our longing to know exact dates and time periods, etc.).

Secondly,
This is not an essential primarily because 1. The Bible does not set up timelines as essential, since it is not concerned with them, but rather theology. 2. The Spirit leads His Church to conclude that the Doctrines of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Man, Eschatology (in respect to the resurrection, final Judgement, Heaven and Hell, not timelines), etc. is essential because of their connection to the Gospel and living in communion with God. If timelines (premill, amill, postmill, etc.) are essential, then only the historical premill or amill positions could really be considered as orthodoxy, unless you want to believe that virtually no Christians existed until 1930. Something the Bible would negate, and in that sense then the Bible along with the historical situation we have, does tell us it is not essential (the Bible states that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church---the historic Premill position is the earliest until about the 4th Cent, then the amill view takes over for over a thousand years, then postmill comes along and then dispensational premill, so at some point the church would have past away from the earth (and hence Hell would have prevailed---therefore, the Bible shows us that this is not an essential.

Finally, timelines are not an essential because Christ basically tells the disciples twice that the time of His return is none of their business. They are simply to look for the signs that we are in the latter days of the earth and God's salvation has both come and is coming.

I hope somewhere in this drivel someone can actually find something helpful.

Lameo Nameo said...

I love John MacArthur.