Monday, January 28, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I recently ordered a copy of Francis X. Gummerlock's "The Day and the Hour" through a promotion that American Vision was having that offered certain books for only the cost of shipping.
This is not really a book one reads linearly from beginning to end, though you could. It is more a reference guide to "last days madness" (to borrow the title of another of American Vision's books) as it has manifest itself throughout the centuries. The book is broken up into chapters each of which is devoted to a specific aspect of eschatology such as the millennium, the abomination of desolation, the anti-Christ, wars and rumors of wars, the "rapture", etc. Within each chapter are date headings under which we find some of the beliefs expressed at the time regarding the return of Christ. What becomes immediately obvious after reading several of these is that our present day does not have the market cornered on the belief that we are the last generation or in assigning prophetic significance to contemporary world events.
We find out for example that in A.D. 449 a deacon at Carthage named Quodvultdeus wrote in a book called Book on Promises and Predictions that "the barbarian invasions in his lifetime were signs of the End. He identified the Goths and the Moors as Gog and Maygog." Kind of a 3rd century The Late, Great Planet Earth !
Later we read that Sir Walter Raleigh in 1615 believed that Gog and Maygog were the Pope and Spain and that the Turks were the locusts in the Book of Revelation.
Examples of this kind go on and on for a variety of eschatological topics. The one thing they all have in common is that they were later proven wrong by the passage of time. Another interesting feature of the book is a series of some 20 charts outlining things such as candidates for the anti-Christ at various points in history or different views on the meaning of the mark of the beast. As with the narrative examples, the common thread is that all of these beliefs have been proven wrong.
Some examples in the book have been proven wrong before the very eyes of people still living today such as Chuck Smith's prediction that the "rapture" would occur in 1981.
Having been raised on dispensational premillennialism, I remember it coming as a surprise to me that others throughout history had made similar predictions to those being made by people like Hal Lindsey & Tim LaHaye. As with many in this belief system, I felt that what these men were teaching was unique to our time and was based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. A book like this which has essentially done all the research for you (the footnotes are extensive for those interested in tracking down original sources) is a valuable resource for debunking that thought and the newspaper exegesis going on today.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I was privileged to travel to Bihac, Bosnia in the fall of 2001 as a short term missionary so this small country and the believers there are often on my mind.
This week I received an e-mail from a missions team there letting me know about an effort under way to pray for Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2008. Here you can learn more about BiH as well as read about the Christian community there. Please take a look at this site and if you can, remember to pray for the people of this country during 2008.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Given Germany's history regarding those with whom its government disagrees, homeschool families may find themselves in great peril shortly. We should pray that the Lord will protect His people in Germany and will turn the "heart of the king" where this wicked law is concerned.
Friday, January 11, 2008
- John Murray
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I've been blessed to travel to the Republic of Moldova on three different occasions as part of a missions team. The capitol of Moldova is a beautiful city called Chisinau. Recently I was contacted through my Flickr site by a gentleman named Mihai to ask if he could use some of my Chisinau pictures on a new website called Virtual Chisinau. I was honored to lend my few photos to this effort.
You can see one of the ones posted so far here.
While there, take a look at the other pictures as well, many far better than mine, and see what a beautiful city Chisinau is!
FYI...the site is in Romanian so it may be difficult to read the captions!
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
What do you think? Was I overreacting to this little devotional or was it doing these children a disservice, especially those who may not be from Christian families and who need to hear the true gospel preached to them?
Our two boys are currently playing Upwards Basketball at a local church. As those of you familiar with Upwards will know, part of the purpose of that program is to introduce boys and girls to Jesus Christ - nothing wrong with that. One of the ways the program does that is to have a short devotional for the children during the half-time of each game - again, nothing wrong with that.
However, at our first game this past week, I was more than a little concerned about the message given, or at least implied, by that half-time devotion. The overarching message was the Jesus loves you, in fact that He loves everyone no matter what. They had a man dressed up as Elmo from Sesame Street helping with the presentation and at one point the speaker said Jesus even loves Elmo with his big funny nose. He then went on to say that Jesus loves you even when you 'mess up', not sin mind you, just 'mess up'. So what does that look like? Its like when you spray silly string inside the house. I kid you not, that was the illustration given. The speaker said he likes to spray silly string inside the house (and he then sprayed it across the crowd of kids much to their glee) but that his wife loves him even when he does that and that's how Jesus loves us too.
Now, my wife thinks I'm overreacting given that these were kids between 1st and 3rd grade, at least where our boys were concerned. However, leaving aside the theological issues around 'Jesus loves everyone in the world', my feeling is it is never OK to trivialize sin in this way. Even very young children are capable of understanding the holiness of God and the seriousness of sin. They must in fact understand that in my opinion before they can repent and be saved. Which brings me to another point, there was no mention at all of repentance - just Jesus loves you no matter what.