Saturday, September 27, 2008

See, I am Fallible!!!!!!
(and a discussion of the Radical Marriage Mandators too!!!!!!!!)
I was just reading up on Jim West's, and Lawrence Mykytiuk's comments on the Seal of Gedaliah, which I wrote about a while back. I have to admit, I think Jim brings up a good point that there is nothing on the seal to identify this with the Biblical Gedaliah. I had originally went down this road, but I thought that Finkelstein would have said something if this were possible. I must, therefore, agree with Jim West that, given that we don't know the frequency of these names in Jerusalem, we cannot identify it with the Biblical Gedaliah.
However, I must disagree with his comments that we cannot allow the Bible to interpret our Archaeology. He says, "Or, it’s equally possible, isn’t it, that the biblical account is based on historical factlets without itself being ‘historical’." For the Christian, the answer is simply "No, it is not possible." We are called to "Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ" [2 Corinthians 10:5]. Hence, we view history as being under the sovereign direction of God. Hence, if this does refer to the man spoken of by the Book of Jeremiah, we must understand him in the light of what the scripture says. Then, I would go on to argue that any philosophy of history other than the Christian philosophy of history makes nonsense out of the study of history.
The mistake that myself and Mazor made is that there is nothing in the Bible that says that this is, indeed, the seal of the Gedaliah that tried Jeremiah. I am willing to grant, therefore, that it is indeed possible that there was another Gedaliah that lived at this time, and that he is the owner of that seal, since the scriptures do not rule out that possibility.
However, I will not allow the liberal media off that easy. To this I simply would like to comment on Lawrence Mykytiuk's comments. He noted many of the same things I did, namely, that the script is consistent with this time period, and it was found on a controlled archaeological dig by a respected archaeologist. Hence, this makes it, at very least, difficult to question whether or not it is genuine. He also says that it is, at least, a reasonable hypothesis that this is the seal of the Gedaliah son of Pishhur mentioned in the book of Jeremiah. Therefore, you need to understand that the discovery of this seal does tell us that the book of Jeremiah, at least in this respect, is consistent with the time period in which the book of Jeremiah claims to have been written. Hence, if authentic [and I have little reason to doubt that it is authentic], it would at least confirm the historical accuracy of Jeremiah, namely, that it would further show that Jeremiah's writing shows a knowledge of the time period in which the events spoken of in the book took place.
Let me ask a simple question to drive this home. Why is it that a seal bearing a Biblical name in the script from that time period, recovered by a respected archaeologist, and having a reasonable hypothesis that this is the seal of the Biblical character gets absolutely no media attention, and the Talpiot Tomb theory, which was mocked and laughed at by secular and Jewish archaeologists alike, gets an entire program on the Discovery channel? I cannot figure it out, other than to point out that Christians are not the only ones who are ideologically driven. Hence, while I must agree with Jim West about this seal, it still shows the incredible bias of the leftest media.
As a Van Tillian, am not going to rest my faith on this discovery, but I think it is telling that this seal has gotten no media attention.
Now, from the academic, to people who are simply out of control. I happened to go over to the Boundless Blog today, and, much to my shagrin, found the following comments:
A few of us because concerned about the roots of this problem coming from the proliferation of the "gift of singleness" teachings of the past few decades. This phrase was actually an embellishment of the Living Bible of the 70's (now the NLT), that caught on among singleness writers, becoming somewhat of a rogue doctrine. A few of us became fed up the fact that not only was in not in the original Greek text, but with how it caused so many people to doubt whether or not God was on their side about the goodness of pursuing marriage. So we got together and successfully campaigned to the NLT to have it removed! HALLELUJIAH, IT'S GONE!!
Now, I am assuming that this is the same Jennifer that posts under the screenname Gortexgrrl. Of course, what is maddening about this is that I already addressed this issue a long time ago. As I mentioned in that post, I know one of the translators for the NLT, and if you go to that post, you will see that everything Jennifer is saying here is wrong. She says that she "successfully campaigned to the NLT to have it removed." Of course, the NLT translators told me that they did nothing because they agreed with these women. They did, indeed, decide to reconsider their translation of the passage, but the change was made because they didn't feel translating the passage in this way, and bringing out the fact that Paul was calling singleness a gift here would show the connection between this passage and the following discussion about spiritual gifts. The only thing on which the NLT translators were willing to agree with these women was that this text should not be used to forbid those who would like to marry from marrying or pursuing marriage, which no one was teaching in the first place! In fact, even worse for these girls, is that the NLT translators say that they still believe this passage teaches that singleness is a gift! Now, how did Gortexgrrl respond to this? Did she take back what she said? Did she, at very least, nuance what she said? No, she just said:
Whatever, Adam.
We're just glad the GoS is G.O.N.E.
Notice, no nuancing of what she said. No admittance that the NLT translators do not agree with her, and no acknowledgement that they did not remove this phrase because of their campaigning. Just a response of "whatever." Keep in mind, she knew all of these things before she repeated the same thing in this post on the Boundless Blog!
Not only that, but, [and I have said this before], but I have pointed out that this girl does not know Greek. I pointed out that in her article on 1 Corinthians 7, she simply put the dictionary form down for every word, and acted as if that was the Greek of the text. Here is what she said was the Greek of 1 Corinthians 7:6-9:
De lego touto kata suggnome ou kata epitage 7) Gar thelo pas anthropos einai kai hos emautou alla hekastos echo IDIOS CHARISMA ek theos HOS MEN HOUTO DE HOS HOUTO. 8) Lego de agamos kai chera esti KALOS autos ean meno kago hos kago 9) De ei egkrateuomai ou egkrateuomai GAMEO gar esti kreitton gameo e puroo."
Those of you who know Greek know what I mean. This is incapable of translation. Again, these are all things I have pointed out before this. Now, what is interesting is that, even after pointing this stuff out, what do we have on her post on the Boundless Blog? Well, she says the following with regards to Jesus' words in Matthew 19:12:
Christ then concludes this verse by stating A SECOND TIME the conditions he set in verse 11, reiterating clearly that it is for those capable of receiving it (rather than obeying under compulsion or command from God): Dunamai choreo choreo (He that is able to receive (it), let him receive (it).
Now, is that really the Greek of Matthew 19:12? Well, you guessed it. She did the exact same thing that she did in her article on 1 Corinthians 7, that is, she posted all of the dictionary forms of the words, somehow assuming that this was the way the Greek text read! However, what is even worse this time, is that she left out the article! The Greek text actually reads "ho dunamenos chorein choreito."
Now, I am not saying this because I think that it will somehow change Jennifer's mind. She believes she is right, and, even on something as easily demonstratable as these things, she still is going ahead. However, I was concerned because of the following comment that was left in response to her:
I am glad you brought your study of the original language into your post, God's word has final authority.

The ability to "receive" a teaching may well be what Jesus was referring to in that instance, but does that negate a view of giftedness including all you have been given? What have you NOT been given, in truth?

The label "gift" applies to far more than temporary pleasure, and all things work together for ultimate good (Romans 8). It does not seem a stretch to put all our circumstances and limitations and, dare I say, even sins into His hands & trust Him to use all for His glory & our good since that is His promise.

However, changing the label of "gift" doesn't change our responsibility. I've heard various teaching on "gifts" and have come to the conclusion that it's an area that causes sidetracking because the edges are fuzzy. I should've thought of that before I used the term!
Now, I have to say I am encouraged because it is obvious that this woman is using discernment. The problem is that she has no idea about the fact that Jennifer didn't even post the Greek text, but just simply went through and posted the dictionary form of each word! She also has no idea that the NLT did not remove anything because of these girl's campaigning. You see, this is what I am afraid of with this kind of thing. Many girls who have not heard of Debbie Maken, Captain Sensible, Gortexgrrl, etc. will be sucked into this simply out of ignorance. She has no way to check on these things. For all she knows, Jennifer has studied many years of Greek, and campaigned at the Society for Biblical Literature to have these things removed.
Hence, so that this rumor does not go any further, I am inviting everyone who is interested in this topic to post my response to this stuff found here on their blog, so we can get it out to as many people as possible. I figure that, if we can get this article out, it will at least make it harder for Gortexgrrl and Captain Sensible to go around saying these things all because of the ignorance of the people to whom they are talking. I also have written a response to this stuff at the Boundless Blog, but it would be a total waste of time to go around looking for everytime this issue has come up on the internet, expecially since I am preoccupied with my classes here at Trinity. Hence, anyone who is interested in posting the relevant section of that article on their blog, you have my permission.

Friday, September 19, 2008

An Open Letter to Albert Mohler

Dear Dr. Mohler,

I know that you probably do not know who I am, but my name is Adam, and I am a M.A. Candidate in Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I want to first of all say that I do really respect the work that you do. It is refreshing to hear a carefully reasoned voice on the radio with so much bad material in the media today.

However, I must say that I have been very distressed by the bad argumentation that you put forward in both your article, and in the beginning of your program on Friday. You said that "every single response, thus far, is from a woman." May I be the first [or one of the first] to break that string. I have been dealing with this issue for a long time. In fact, I have had a conversation [or tried to] with Debbie Maken, and have even reviewed Candice Watters' book [I know you have endorsed both of these]. Hence, I am well familiar with this topic.

Dr. Mohler, first of all, we are both protestants. As protestants, we both believe in Sola Scriptura, namely, that the Bible is sufficient to function as the regula fide, that is, the rule of faith for the church. We also recognize that, whatever is not found in scripture, is not binding upon the christian. Yet, I heard you say a whole lot of things that I believe are simply exegetically indefensible.

For instance, you said that, "You have this delayed adulthood among young men," and "This extended adolesence which is beginning to characterize so much of the young male experience."

So, we equate marriage with adulthood. Can you prove that from scripture Dr. Mohler? Even Dr. Grant Osborne, my Hermeneutics professor, said that this was totally wrong. The reality is I have never heard an exegetical argument for this position. The best argument I have heard goes back to Genesis 2:24. However, that text is not defining manhood, it is telling us why it is that you have men today who leave there father and mother, etc. It is because of what God instituted back in the garden of Eden.

Not only that, you have said that, "When you start looking at the fact that we have just actualized and made norminative the expectation in the secular culture that premarital sex is going to be the norm, and in the secular culture it certainly is, then young men are no longer modivated to take on the responsibilities of marriage. If you offer young men the opportunity to have sex without responsibility, here's a news flash, they will take it, and that's what's happening in this culture."

I am really amazed by this statement, Dr. Mohler. Are you denying the grace of God can instruct us to deny ungodly desires [Titus 2:11-12]? Are you likewise denying what the book of Proverbs says when it tells young men that wisdom will keep us from the adulteress [Proverbs 2:16]? So, if a man has the grace of God, and is growing in wisdom, how can you say that "they will take it." It seems to me that the grace of God, and the wisdom and instruction found in the book of Proverbs is foundational to fighting against these things! Yes, Dr. Mohler, men who do not have the grace of God or wisdom will "take it." However, that is a reflection upon the church merely teaching what is right and wrong, and not teaching discernment and wisdom as is found in the book of Proverbs.

Yes, I know, you will bring up 1 Corinthians 7:9. However, Dr. Mohler, did you ever notice that "burning with passion" there is not having sexual desire? The whole phrase runs "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." If you say that "burning with passion" is having sexual desire, then the text has nothing to do with the previous clause which is about having self control! I think it is more likely to equate "burning with passion" with "not having self control" given that Paul uses this chiastic structure in this very context [v.2-4].

Not only that, but many competent commentators such as Dr. Gordon Fee, Dr. Craig Blomberg, Dr. Richard Hays, and others have pointed out that this text probably is not referring to singles in general at all, but a specific group of singles, namely, widows and widowers! Hence, the text is totally irrelevant to the discussion of single people in general.

Also you say, "And what happens when you begin to take marriage, and you say, 'It's now an option. It's no longer norminative. It's now an option...'

Again, Dr. Mohler, where do you find these things in scripture? There is no command for every individual to marry anywhere in God's word. I believe that marriage should be norminative, but not in the sense that you are talking about. I believe that it is norminative because God has naturally put it into the hearts and desires of most people to get married, and not because of some command that I am going to add to scripture as if scripture is not sufficient.

Yes, I have dialogued with Debbie Maken, and I have read all of the arguments of the so called "Mandatory Marriage Movement," and I find them to be, not only unconvincing, but extremely weak. When you have to take Genesis 1:28b out of the context of 1:27c [which gives you the subject of "Be Fruitful and Multiply], and the phrase "fill the earth" so that you are left with the absurd idea that every single couple must not only marry, but that an individual couple must have seven billion children so that they "fill the earth," then you have missed something exegetically.

If you try to run off to Jeremiah 29, and use the phrase "Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters," then you will, not only be caught trying to explain how it is that we likewise are all obligated to plant gardens and build houses [v.5], but you will likewise be taking this text out of the context of the false prophets who were trying to encourage the people to revolt rather than live their life as usual [vs.8-10].

Again, your statement that marriage is norminative, in the sense that it is not an option is simply indefensible exegetically. For instance, even Andreas Kostenburger, who has conversed with Debbie Maken, has said the same thing I have. Not only that, but do you not have elders in your church? Are you saying that you command all people in your church to be elders, or else there will be no elders in your church? That is terrible logic.

Next you say, "There is no recovery if you are going to accept the premise that we are autonomious individuals, and each one of us has a right to do whatever is right in our own sight. We can define life as we want it. We can define relationships simply as whatever we want them to be. for however long we want them to last."

I reply. Dr. Mohler, why do you assume that it is either add to God's word, or be autonomious individuals? Might I point out that we are neither if we follow the principle of Sola Scriptura. What if scripture were our ultimate authority, and it defined for us what is sin and what is not sin. What if it defined for us what proper behavior was in our relationships, and decided to bind us to certain things, and not to other things?

What if it bound us to the idea that we had to dress modestly, but that we could wear either a yellow shirt or a green shirt? What if it told me that I had to only have sexual relations within marriage, but that I could remain unmarried? How in the world would this be talking about wanting our own autonomy? Shall I become the governor of Kentucky, and force the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to change its name to the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and teach Presbyterian doctrine? Would you not be crying out about your freedom to worship God in the way you think is right? What if I then accused you simply holding to your own autonomy? Again, God has bound our contience on some things, and not on others.

Next you say, "We can divide the goods of marriage. We can say we want reproduction without responsibility, or we want the marriage without the children. That's what happens when everything begins to unravel."

Again, how in the world is anyone going to be able to defend the idea that you cannot be married and not have children exegetically? Where is that in the Bible? And, yes, I have read all of the major books you might recommend, and the exegesis is very, very bad. For example, if you decide to go off to Genesis 1:28, see above.

If you try to argue that children are a blessing, and therefore required, then the logical conclusion of that position is that all blessings are required. A swimming pool on a hot day is a blessing. Now, if someone would prefer to put the money in the bank rather than by a swimming pool you could simply say, "See, you really don't believe a swimming pool is a blessing, you just view it as an inconvinience to your own personal autonomy." Or, if the person says that they can't afford it, one could likewise say, "See, you just view a swimming pool on a hot day as a financial inconvienience, not a blessing." In fact, given that logic, you should overdraw your checking account into the millions of dollars to have every blessing known to man, and if you don't, you simply do not believe they are blessings, and just believe that they are inconvienences to your own personal autonomy, and as well as financial inconveniences.

How did we get in this logical mess? We got in it by trying to force upon the text of scripture an idea that does not come from the Bible, but rather from "the way things always were." This is a theme in your writings when you talk about marriage and children, Dr. Mohler. I see a distinct difference in the quality of your exegesis from when you talk about things like Homosexuality, the Diety of Christ, and other issues, to this issue. Many others have said the same thing. Dr. Averbeck, my professor of Pentatuch, thought your view that delay of marriage as a sin was a "classic overreaction," yet he seemed suprised to hear that you were one of the people promoting it. Why is it that consistently, when I talk to people whose main area is exegesis, they consistently reject the arguments you put foward from the scriptures, as well as the arguments of these books you have endorsed? Shouldn't that tell you something about the quality of your exegesis on these issues?

Finally, Dr. Mohler, you kept on harping on the fact that these women have natural desires given to them by their creator. I agree, these are natural desires given to them by their creator. It is not wrong to want to be married and have children. In fact, it is a good and Godly desire. However, what you completely missed is that God can intentionally put desires in people that he will never fulfill. For instance, there are a whole lot of people around the world who have a God given desire for food. Does that mean God is obligated to give them food? No, of course not. However, what is amazing is to go to these countries and to see the faith of these people who, although they don't even know if they will get their next meal tonight, are still trusting in God whether he gives them food or not. These people have faith I can only hope to ever have.

And yet, look at the selfishness of these women. They have a desire for something, and if God doesn't give them what they want, they run off and sin. While I agree that the desire is good, and that simply having the desire is not selfish, to say that God must give them that desire right now is to make yourself God, and to engage in the most terrible form of idolatry. God can keep a husband from them for the rest of his life if he wants to do so. In fact, I might even say that God will willing keep a husband from these women to teach them to trust in him alone, rather then trusting in their own desires. It is amazing that these people in other nations who do not have something as essential to life as food do not rebel against God, but have very strong faith, and the women here in America and England who have a desire for something that, although good and Godly, is not essential to life, disobey God if he does not give them what they want. Why did you not address this, Dr. Mohler?

You see, the fact that people are under no obligation to marry means that we cannot trust in marriage, we must ultimately trust in God! We must ultimately trust that he is the God who will give us what we need. If someone, instead, runs off, and does what is right in their own eyes because their faith is in marriage and not in God, then the result will be this wickedness of fertilization to a man to whom they are not even married.

Finally, you speak about shifts in culture quite a lot in your program. Yes, many times culture shifts are for the worst. Many times they bring in ideas that are foreign and hostile to Christianity. However, we also have traditions that are not Biblical, and culture shifts force us to go back to the Bible and test our traditions against the unchanging norm of scripture. I believe that, if we cannot find these ideas in scripture, we need to reject them wholesale. The reason is that, if we are going to be protestants who hold to Sola Scriptura, we are going to have to be people who constantly go back to God's word to find out what God has bound to our contience. His revelation needs to be the foundation of even our morals and our ethics. If we cannot find the idea that not having any children in marriage is a sin, the idea that virtually everyone is commanded to marry, or the idea that marriage and manhood are synonomious in scripture, then we need to reject them as unbiblical traditions.

Again, I don't want this to sound like I don't respect you. I do, and that is the whole reason why I am writing to you. I know many people who have held strongly to these positions who have ended up leaving protestantism altogether because they could not defend these things from scripture. I think that the dialogue needs to focus on what the Bible says, and not upon rhetoric that simply doesn't get us anywhere. I hope you will give what I have said careful consideration.

In Christ,

Friday, September 05, 2008

Jack Van Impe on Canada and the End Times

I can honestly say that, when it comes to the area of eschatology, I am somewhat strange. I not only enjoy talking about eschatology, but I also believe that the area of eschatology is important to Christianity, and I am concerned about certain views of eschatology that are popular today. I mean, if I am going to be challanging relationship authors to be consistent in their exegesis of the text of scripture, then I believe we need to point out when people misuse the text of scripture to try to support certain views of eschatology.

Jack Van Impe is a very popular author on the subject of eschatology. I remember that, when I first started studying the subject of eschatology, Jack Van Impe was someone who was recommended to me. Now, let me tell you, Jack Van Impe seems to never run out of breath. He went through Bible verses so fast the first time I heard him that I had to tape the program, and then stop and start it so that I could write down what he was saying. When I started researching what he was saying, I was shocked. I still remember his misuse of Revelation 4:1 when he said that this referred to the rapture, when the language is very clearly addressed to John! He tried to get around that by saying that these people were crowned, and you cannot be crowned until the resurrection of the just. However, the text he cited actually said that you cannot be *rewarded* until the resurrection of the just. What if this was the "crown of life?" I could not believe how bad this stuff was.

I have been following Gary DeMar's study of Ezekiel 38 and 39 on his radio program and blog. DeMar is currently working on a book I am anxiously awaiting on Ezekiel 38 and 39 called Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future.

For some reason, the other day, I was looking at Jack Van Impe's website, and I found the following comments:

In the war with Russia in Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39 Ezekiel 38:13 mentions Tarshish and all of the young lions. The symbol of America is the Bald Eagle and the symbol of England is the Lion, so Tarshish and all her young lions, all the English speaking nations of the world including Canada come against Russia.

So, now, not only do we have Russia and Moscow in Ezekiel 38 and 39 because of the similar sounds between Russia and the Hebrew term varo, and between Moscow and the Hebrew term %v,m, [Which we now know to have been in Anatolia], but we also have Canada thrown in there for good measure because of this argument from young lions. This interpretation is full of problems. First of all, the Hebrew term rypiK. is often times used in the prophetic works as a metaphor for an army. For instance, the book of Jeremiah, in prophesying what is obviously the destruction of Judah, says the following:

Jeremiah 2:14-15 Is Israel a servant, or is he a houseborn servant? Why is he made for spoil? Young lions [rypiK.] are roaring over him. They lift up their voice. They have desolated his land; his cities are burned without an inhabitant [Translation mine].

Other examples of this usage is Isaiah 5:25-29, Isaiah 31:4, Jeremiah 25:36-38, 51:36-39, Ezekiel 19:1-7, Hosea 5:9-15, Amos 3:2-11, Micah 5:8-9, Zechariah 11:1-3. In fact, in all but three passages in which this term is used in the prophets it is a metaphor for a military army. There are a few usages found in Ezekiel 32:2 and Ezekiel 19 which appear to be referring to the leader of an army rather than the army itself. BDB lists Nahum 2:12 there, but it is also possible that it is referring to the "Nineveh" of verse 9. There is another usage refers to a Cherub in Ezekiel's vision of the temple in Ezekiel 41:19. However, none of these usages are very helpful to Jack Van Impe's interpretation. Also, it is interesting that, in all of those instances, it is context which rules rules out the understanding of rypiK. as a metaphor for an army.

This is what is so devistating for Jack Van Impe's interpretation of this passage. Not only does the context of Ezekiel 38 not rule out taking rypiK. as a metaphor for an army, it actually confirms it! The whole text of Ezekiel 38-39 is talking about a battle between nations. This is exactly the context in which we find the other usages of this term when the term is used as a metaphor for an army! Again, I have to ask, why is it that Jack Van Impe is willing to depart from the norminative usage of rypiK. in this context, and take rypiK. to be referring to the symbols of nations so as to insert some notion that English speaking nations are going to come against Russia [an idea which would have been totally foreign to the people of Ezekiel's day]?

Also interesting is the fact that there is a textual varient here. The Septuagint and Theodotion's Greek edition have kai. pa/sai ai` kw/mai auvtw/n which would suggest that the Hebrew rpiK. should be repointed as rp'K'! This would mean that the text would be translated, "Sheba, Dedan, all the merchants of Tarshish, and all her villages will say to you..." That totally changes everything. Now Jack Van Impe's argument is totally gone. In fact, this is the way the NIV and the NASB translate this passage.

However, making it worse or Jack Van Impe, is the fact that there have been two proposed readings that are likewise possible. The most likely of the two is a reading proposed by Leslie Allen in her commentary on this passage. She suggests that the text should read hyrk meaning "merchants." This fits well with the parallelism to yrex]so, and she suggests that it was changed because of the uniqueness of this word within the corpus of Ezekiel's prophecies.

Koehler-Baumgartner and the BHS suggest the reading h'yl, This is a little more difficult as it would have to be a wholesale change from the original reading. While there are many commentators who prefer this reading, it seems odd that the text would stray that much from the original, unless it were an intentional change. Allen suggests that it could be possible if the change came from hyrK.

Certainly this text-critical issue is far from settled. However, any one of these readings would make Van Impe's interpretation impossible.

So, in essence, we have Jack Van Impe giving us an interpretation of a text that is utterly out of the norm of the usage of rypiK., and, an interpretation that depends upon rypiK. being the correct reading of the text when there are several different possibilities for the original of this text.

I think, ultimately, the main problem here is Van Impe's interpretational methodology. You see, this form of dispensationalism has a bad habit of allowing current events to determine the meaning of the text rather than allowing the Bible itself to unlock the symbolism it uses. Van Impe is absolutely positive that these texts in Ezekiel 38 and 39 are referring to events that are going to happen in our lifetime, and that things that are going on right now in the world have a direct relationship to what is written here. When you take that perspective, you end up using the headlines to interpret the text of scripture, rather than using scripture to interpret itself. Now, I obviously have not settled the issue of the overall interpretation of Ezekiel 38 and 39. That is something that would require another article. However, I hopefully can contribute to stopping this interpretation from getting to popular, before it becomes as bad as the argument that this text is talking about Russia!

Also, I thought it was rather funny to read his comments on Postmillenialism [my view of eschatology]. You see, Postmillenialism is really booming in Africa. We have churches there that believe that the whole continent, yea, the whole world can be one for Christ. It is in light of this that we read the following question and answer:

It thrills my heart to listen to your weekly program and hear the most important event to take place - the second coming of Jesus - being portrayed so beautifully and forthrightly. I had virtually given up on the church in South Africa, which seems to follow all the false prophets and teachers who want to Christianize the world for Jesus and then invite Him back when the whole world is converted. I guess they just don't read the Bible or believe in the literal translation of it. May the lord continue to richly bless you and your ministry! Maranatha - even so come quickly, Lord Jesus

Sid Fenwick
South Africa

I know what the denomination is in South Africa, and it's one that comes out of Holland, and most of them an amillennialists, they don't believe there's going to be a thousand-year reign of Christ, and then there are the post-millennialists, and that thing died years ago. How ridiculous that we're going to make the world perfect and then invite Christ to come back. Jesus said iniquity is going to abound until He returns, Matthew 24:12 and Second Timothy 3:13 tells us that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived. It’s going to get so bad in Revelation 9:20 they're worshiping demons. Try to make it perfect before Jesus comes, you can't do it. Believe the Bible - Christ is coming to set up his kingdom.

Of course, none of the issues associated with these passages are even addressed. For instance, Matthew 24:34 is not addressed, and how the contrast between verses 13 and 14 which proves that he was talking to Timothy and his time are not even addressed. Also, Revelation 1:1, 3 was not addressed which shows that this is not talking about some future event. Not only that, but notice the ignorance of Van Impe. He seems to think that postmillenialism is dead. Has he not heard of the Christian Reconstructionist movement? Has he not heard of Keith Mathison and R.C. Sproul? Also, it is amazing that the questioner talks about interpreting the Bible literally. Go read any dispensationalist interpretation of Ezekiel 38 and 39. They try to turn all of the weapons into missles, and try to turn horses into horsepower. The reality is that they are more than willing to depart from their literal hermeneutic.

Again, the issue here is much deeper than just a simple misinterpretation of a text. It is entire hermeneutical issue. Van Impe is reading the text through the lens of the headlines rather than through the lens of scripture. As a result, he is poisoning Christians against one another. If they don't happen to buy into his dispensational premillenial scheme, then they just don't believe the Bible. No, actually, we just do not agree with his interpretation of the Bible. I only hope that Jack Van Impe will have the courage of his convictions to stop doing this to the body of Christ. I wish both sides could dialogue on this issue. However, given the responses on his Q and A webpage, it is not likely to happen any time soon.