January 2, 2010
I read a though provoking article this morning at http://www.americanvision.org/article/the-demographics-of-irrelevance/ that seems to argue that young men leave the church because of the retreat and defeatism mentality of people who believe in the rapture.
I thought I was very knowledgeable about the different doctrines within Christianity. I have recently become aware of some unfamiliar takes on the gospel message and the Bible. Post Millennialism and dominion theology are two new terms to me – along with preterism. In order to acquaint yourself with these schools of thought check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_theology
I was operating under the assumption that these people were simply believers in post-tribulation doctrine. Now I understand that their theology goes way beyond that. This whole concept renders my originally editorial woefully inadequate. In fact it would require a book (or perhaps several) to attempt to refute it. Ironically I just received ten very scholarly books from the organization from which this post originated which support their theology. Their take seems to coincide with the thoughts of those who rejected Christ as the messiah because he didn’t free the Jews from Roman rule. I have to wonder if Jesus was not concerned about overthrowing Caesar in His day, why should we accept the argument that Christians have dominion over all the peoples of the Earth?
The whole fascination with the rapture and the subsequent rejection or embracing of it is a real distraction from critical matters. The gospel message is not about victory or defeat of mankind or the church as a whole. The message was about surrendering of the soul man and the flesh to the spirit man so that God might hold sway in a person’s life. The victory or defeat of each man is the vital element.
The church has become irrelevant because of the preaching of cheap grace coupled with the notion of eternal security. Another notion that leads to inactivity is that studying the Bible is as good as living it. Bible studies are dead works if the word is not being applied. They are as analogous to the idea of EMT’s sitting in their ambulance discussing how best to deal with medical conditions, but refusing to go out on an emergency call. If a person believes that once saved always saved, where is the motivation to continue listening to the droning of a pastor’s voice, perhaps at the same time an NFL football game is on the telly? Or at the hour a man would love to continue sawing z’s on his day off? Why should a man give up his creature comforts if he has already bagged the prize?
I don’t think that God give’s a rat’s derriere about man’s fulfillment using his “gifts” to succeed in banking, truck driving, or whatever profession – unless the fulfillment comes from being a witness, silent or vocal, for the Master of the universe. He does, however, desire that whatever we do is done in His name. The idea that pastors should preach about such things seems to be New Age thinking to me. Make men feel good about themselves and their lives. Bring them to church so their egos can be stroked and they’ll keep coming back. What we really need is iron sharpening iron. We need pastors that are not afraid to talk about sin and dereliction of duty. And we need men who are not too proud to take such messages to heart and to let God work even deeper in their lives.
There is a war going on for the eternal lives of men and women on this planet. Men need to fight against or for something to find fulfillment. That is how they are wired. I don’t know exactly how or when God will bring this war to an end. Even Jesus did not know when. But I do know that without a vision of that war, men will perish without even partaking of the battle. But don’t lay the blame on the theory that God will whisk us all away and leave all the heathens in the mess that man has allowed the world to sink to. Even if rapture theology should prove to be true, we are called to fight the good fight and run the good race in this era just like Christians in every era had to do. A seasoned runner knows that when the finish line approaches, the time has come to summon up his final burst of effort, known as the kick. Arguing against the rapture does not constitute the good fight. And now I’ve wasted some fighting time to argue against refutation of the rapture. I must get back to the real war.