Preaching the WHOLE bible

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I’ve met many pastors in my life.. hey, I married one wha! I’ll often press pastors on their theology and moreso their eschatology. Ok, every pastor I’ve ever met I’ve asked them to detail their end times understanding. Its one of the things that  is divisive and really gets to the heart of who a pastor is and how he intends to lead his church.

Rabbit trail, bible prophecy should not be divisive, at least not more so then any other point in the bible with which scholars disagree. Funny right! Just about EVERY thing in the bible has minimum 3 opinions on it. When it comes to bible prophecy though its divisive… not worth the time to discuss because its too divisive. What? Oh man. Makes zero sense… Don’t they question other parts of the bible enough that would make them out of bounds for preaching by that logic? I think its from the devil himself that pastors don’t preach stuff that makes up two thirds of the bible. Thats right, bible prophecy makes up about two thirds of the bible. From the prophecies in the old testament of the coming Messiah, Jesus, to the prophecies of the nations, the prophecies of the various figures in the bible all the way up to end time prophecy.

Done Rabbit trail.. then again maybe not, I’ll probably veer into that again. So ya. Many of the reasons put forth for NOT preaching it is that:

  • they don’t understand it well enough
  • it causes too many questions
  • its not really important to ones salvation
  • it causes people to think christians are wacky
  • It causes people to get focused on the wrong things.
  • I’m probably missing a few…

First, they are pastors, they are supposed to spend much of their time interpreting the bible for us lay folk. I guess its too complicated to learn bible prophecy. Hey, I’m not saying you need all the answers, how about just teaching it, or even just reading it?!

Its not critical to ones salvation, agreed. However, I believe it is a major pillar in ones christian walk to know Gods plan of redemption, His plan for this world, His plan for the Jews. Not to mention the hope it gives us in looking for the return of the Lord.

Pastors say, ‘people get obsessed with it, they get off the rails, thats why I don’t preach it’. Since when did God tell us not to teach bible prophecy, the coming of the son of man, the man of perdition and the dreams of the book of Daniel.

Did you know it says in Revelation that you are blessed if you read it? It goes out of the way, the only book of the bible, and says you WILL be blessed if you read it. Guess all those pastors are missing out on that one.

Now I’m not talking about ALL pastors. Our pastor Phil has some great ideas and thoughts on bible prophecy and he puts stuff into the sermons here and there on it, even sprinkling in some current events now and then. Wish he did more but at least he doesn’t shun it.

And as a pastor, you agree that the bible is the inspired word of God. In fact all Christians basically have to have come to that conclusion, otherwise why are you following a bible that has fallible parts to it? Its all or nothing really if you’re a true christian. And if its inspired, its all, and its Gods words to man, it obvious that you should be teaching it, verse by verse, cover to cover.

If you don’t understand it, learn it! If you still don’t understand it after studying it, we have in this day and age a plethora of well read Christian teachers who major in this stuff and have spent their lives on it. Buy a DVD for the church, get a guy in for a prophecy conference, play a youtube video on a sunday night of a teacher that is able to teach it better than you.

There is really no excuse in this day and age, AND with the state of the world for bible prophecy not to be taught. And I believe it should be much more prominently taught. Same with creation actually.

Oh and the other point, bible prophecy causes people to focus on the wrong things? Ya, focusing on the kingdom to come is bad 😛 Knowing Gods plan for your future and the future of the bride of Christ is bad 😛 Knowing two thirds of the bible is bad 😛

And if you’re worried that ‘good’ christians will fly off the rail, and get addicted to bible prophecy, A) your job is to teach the word of God and B) likely that would fire them up to learn more, read their bible more, tell others and be good watchmen for God.

Bible prophecy isn’t everything, no part of the bible IS everything. We have 66 books which together make up Gods written word to mankind. Its inspired cover to cover (if you don’t believe that, why believe any part of it?), which by measure means that if you preach one part, you should preach all parts. In biblical terms, you would be ‘wrongly dividing the word of God’. The verse is to rightly divide the word of God.

I ain’t no theologian, and yes, bible prophecy is  a bit of a hobby horse and its not something ALL will be involved with as much as I. However, I think its very obvious to anyone paying attention that there is almost a completely lack of attention to it in todays churches…

I’m hoping to have that particular crown in heaven!

 

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3 thoughts on “Preaching the WHOLE bible

  1. Hey Micah, You’ve raised a controversial subject in a somewhat provocative way. 🙂 Your enthusiasm is commendable. Don’t know why Pastors avoid the issue (Do they?). I’ve preached Daniel and Revelation more than once. It has been a difficult issue to be definitive about, because of the plethora of good and godly opinions.
    I think many people avoid the issue, because it is truly difficult to understand. In fact, some of the great theological minds have avoided the book of Revelation and even made uncomplimentary comments (eg. Martin Luther). Because it is difficult to understand, evangelical Christians have driven huge mining-sized trucks into the questions of interpretation. Huge historical mistakes have been made. On the other hand, some have made the Second Coming and related facts hopelessly obscure (eg., Bultmann).
    Others avoid it because many Christians have been ungraciously and ideologically committed to interpretations that should be subject to honourable and reasonable debate.

    Thanks to Lyndsay I have been giving this some thought. Let me lend some general comments, suggest an approach to studying the subject, and give some hints of my own view (I haven’t included many relevant Scriptures, but could if asked):

    1. First, much of what is said in discussions about the Second Coming has only pseudo relevance to our daily lives and hopes. In view of His coming, some of our real priorities are “let your gentleness be evident to all” (Phil 4:5) and “live holy and godly lives” (2 Pet. 3:11) and of course share the Gospel (Acts 1:6-8).

    2. Therefore, beyond belief in the supremacy of Christ and His certain return, we should be gracious and “open to reason” (Phil. 3:15,16; Jas 3:17)

    3. There are four simple things, in my estimation , we should affirm from Revelation and other scriptures:
    a. God is on His Throne
    b. Spiritual conflict is inevitable for the Christian in this life
    c. The conflict will last for “a time”
    d. God will bring closure with the return of Christ
    (We better have decided for Jesus before our passing or His return!)

    4. Furthermore, we have one life (Heb. 9:27) and one King, Jesus, and He has one kingdom. He became King through his death ascension and resurrection, and from the moment of belief we became citizens of His heaven. We await the fulfillment of that spiritual kingdom, whatever physical form that may entail (prophetic-apocalyptic language is apparently necessary for such mysteries!).

    5. As to the details of His return, things start to get complicated and even controversial, but there is widespread agreement that:
    a) It will be sudden, personal, visible and bodily.
    b) We should wait eagerly as we “speed” His coming by our obedient lives.
    c) But in our eagerness we should be aware that God is patient, not wanting that any miss out on the benefits of his return.
    d) We don’t know when He will return, but believers won’t be surprised.

    6. In regard to the details:
    a) Again, much of what is said in discussions of the events and their chronology is largely irrelevant to the believer (gasp!).
    b) Much of what is said in the scriptures reassures believers that their suffering will not last forever and will be vindicated at the end of history.
    c) Some of what is said in the scriptures is meant to reassure believers of their eternal destination, even if they die before the Return of Christ and similarly for their loved one who have already died in Christ.

    7. In regard to the big picture I would recommend that the earnest seeker of truth use the following approach:
    a) Have a look at Rev. 20:1-6 and come to an interpretation of the meaning of the 1000 years, with the help of the whole Biblical testimony and a reasonable variety of commentators.
    b) Then look at the details of descriptions of how Christ will return and decide whether there will be a unique and isolated event call the “rapture”.
    c) Spend some time examining the relationship between the Old Testament and New Testament and the nature of Old Testament prophecies, especially those mentioned or alluded to in Revelation and other relevant NT scriptures.
    d) Then, explore the Scriptures describing the role of the church and the relationship between Jews and Christians, and try to arrive at a reasonable Biblical/theological understanding of that relationship.
    e) From those building blocks begin to make sense of, and interact in an intelligent way, with the myriad of details included in descriptions of His 2nd Coming and the various interpretations of those details. (Hopefully, one will arrive at some understanding, but also appreciate the limitations of that understanding! Both time and humility are needed!)

    8. Okay, some hints about where I am coming to in my views:
    a) Jesus can be no more king than He already is and we can be no more citizens in His kingdom than we already are, except for its fullest realization when He comes back take us “home”.
    b) There is only one church – “Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, men and women” – even if God has ongoing plans for rest of the children of Abraham.
    c) An Intermediate state after death should not be a concern, given the obvious impossibilities of “physical” resurrection. The promise of a physical resurrection is a comfort, but hardly an adequate explanation for the full reality! We will somehow receive glorified bodies. Amen! I’ll leave the details to Him even as I explore scriptures curiously for insight and glimmers of eternity. (Perhaps this is a side issue.)
    d) An intermediate kingdom on earth of a literal 1000 years is problematic for various reasons, best left for another discussion. Let me say this much. A half-way earthly kingdom for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, doesn’t seem quite right Biblically and theologically, or even grammatically-historically. (I guess I’m more than hinting here.) For me, the 1000 years is not symbolic as much as a prophetic/apocalyptic expression of the cosmic consequences of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. It is the very real and present “now, not yet” reign of Christ from heaven and through the church (Eph. 1:18-22; Col. 1:13-20). We await Christ’s final eternal kingdom as we enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of His present eternal Kingdom.

    Thanks for the open invite. The thoughts are not sufficient, but they are a contribution. Between you and Lyndsay, you’ve got me thinking and exploring the Scriptures. Maranatha!

  2. RE pastors avoiding it, yes. I’ve spoken we a number who outright suggest that they do for the very reason its controversial. Spoke to a paster on Sunday that said that straight up. At least hes honest! But there is no reason not to teach something because its not fully understood or controversial. I don’t mind theological mistakes as long as its a discussion. We need to talk about it and not shy away. I would say the same for biblical creation and the various beliefs around the book of Genesis. Its no different.

    We may not all believe the same but the pastor needs to put the various ideas out there with the information that backs up the various beliefs and start that discussion (another blog for creation rant for sure! 😉 )

    And this discussion isn’t just about the unreadable book of revelation. Its about Matthew, Luke, Daniel, Joel, Psalms, Ezekiel, and all the others that have bible prophecy in them. Prophecy that has both been fulfilled and has yet to be fulfilled.

    Its brought up often about the Jews that I think that they have a different salvation route (brought up by the pastor I was speaking with too). I don’t believe that, should blog on it too. Salvation is through faith in Christ. That goes for the Jew too. That doesn’t mean God is finished with the story and timeline of the jewish nation.
    The specifics of what WILL occur upcoming I agree are subject to interpretation. I think a lot are wrong on it, but… its not the purpose of this blog to argue premill, pretrib, mid trib, etc etc. It is the purpose however to demonstrate that 50% of the pastors I’ve sat under didn’t preach bible prophecy (like prophecies of Jesus being born, and all the prophecies of His death and resurrection in Isaiah)

    I could go on, but I think that clarifies where I was going with the blog.

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