Dispensational Bible Study (I went to)
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Rick_C



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 145
Location: West Central Ohio

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Dispensational Bible Study (I went to) Reply with quote

A couple weeks ago I called Steve to ask about a new Bible study I started going to.

I had gone not knowing what the study would be about and learned it's on the book of Revelation. I assumed it would be dispensational in orientation and, after learning what the study was about, I decided to stay anyway, whether it was dispensational or not.

Sure enough, the orientation was 'standard' dispensationalism. My second week going, this past Wednesday nite; the pastor read from a Hal Lindsay book as a 'commentary' on verses we were studying.

At any rate, I asked Steve something like, "What would you do in such a study?" That is, what could I do to open up the possibility of seeing Revelation in a non-dispensational way? Steve suggested getting with the study facilitator (who isn't the pastor, though the pastor attends) and asking if they would like to continue believing in things that 'started in 1830' (dispensationalism) or if they would like to examine alternate views.

I'm not so sure they could 'take' this suggestion....

As a backgrounder: My first week there I said "I used to believe in dispensationalism like you guys do" (it's a men's study group). The pastor asked what dispensationalism is, I'm assuming in order to get me in on the study. (It could be he doesn't know himself?). I defined it briefly as, "The belief that God dealt with Israel in the OT and has put them on-hold till after the pretribulational rapture."

Then the pastor asked what my views are now. I said, "Wesleyan, basically" (this study is in a United Methodist church)! I went on, "I'm amillennial and see things how the Church has historically." The pastor replied, "I'll have to check to see if Wesley was pre-mid-or posttribulational" (in his views of the rapture). I didn't say anything---but---no one was pre or midtribulational in those days!

Btw, I've followed up studying Wesley's beliefs and though he was probably amillennial, he differs with myself and other amillennialists of today. He retained, in part, along with the Reformers, the belief that the Roman Catholic Church and/or an "apostate Church" has some 'configuration' in Revelation and/or prophecy. Wesley also believed two [literal] one 1,000 year periods are referred to in Rev 20 (which I won't go into). Otherwise, he believed in one general resurrection which will happen at "the end" of Revelation 20.

Anyways, I went back to the study this week and didn't say much. (The pastor didn't follow up on Wesley's views, so I didn't either): I didn't say say much this week. I did say, "Some people say they take Revelation literally but no one thinks Jesus is a 'little woolly lamb'" (borrowing one of Steve's illustrations from his Revelation mp3's). This brought up some conversation about the locusts creatures that looked like horses, with faces like people, and hair like women [Re 9:7-8]: One guy replied that this was possibly symbolic rather than literal, (as most of the other men seem to be taking the book).

To this no one said anything in reply...(I held back intentionally in order to not appear to be 'leading' the discussion)...and the pastor suggested we go on reading. We read a section: then comment (is the format, there's no prepared outline, it's an open discussion).

We'll begin with Rev 11 next week: "the two witnesses." The pastor gave a short preview and I suggested (with some reservation) that some have seen the two witnesses as referring to the Church. Pastor replied, "But that's impossible because 'we won't be here'!" (pretribulational rapture). I replied, "'Could be...'could be".

After the study I got with the pastor to say I might be getting a part-time job and may not be able to come back as a result (a job I really need!)....

Otherwise, I haven't said anything to the pastor or the facilitator about the fact that dispensationalism began in circa 1830 or if they would like to look into other views. I tried to imagine how a partial-preterist viewpoint, if I were to present it, would go over: Not very well, I'm quite sure!

Though these men are familiar with pre, mid, and post-tribulational views of the rapture, I don't think they know what amillennialism or postmillennialism is. I'm relatively certain they haven't heard of partial-preterism also. (I don't even know if they realize their own view is called "premillennial")!

I'm considering saying something about my personal history in the next study: How I essentially left 'Christianity' for several years after finding out dispensationalism is made-up. I wouldn't word it like that, but would say it was a view that wasn't held till about 1830. Btw, I left 'Christianity' after giving in to a temptation that, "If they made-up the PreTrib stuff, did they make-up 'God' too?"

My going to this study is something of a personal growth thing....
Not long ago, maybe 5 years back, I vowed to "not even darken the door of a Pre Trib church." This limited my fellowship significantly, as about 95% of the born-again Christians in my area are dispensational....

I could keep going to the study if I don't get this new job. It would be "fellowship" in that I'd be with other believers. However, it is very difficult to sit and listen to men saying things like, "If President Bush succeeds in having Israel and the Palestinians sign a peace agreement, he could be the AntiChrist!"

Maybe I just won't go back....
Is hearing this sort of nonsense (and not saying anything contrary to it) "fellowship"?

I LEFT man-made religion a long time ago (early 80s)...and after "recommiting my life to God" (a few years back)...I cannot get back into man-made nonsense again, EVER!

It's just not in my "make-up," so to speak....

Any thoughts or feedback?
Thanks, Smile
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. I should also mention that, at the first time I went to this study, I specifically said I didn't want to debate (or to start one). The pastor has acknowledged that I have "other views" more than once. However, I haven't really gone into them much, other than the illustration of 'the woolly lamb' (above) and saying I'm amillennial now.

Also, I went to this Bible study as it is the only one in my area that I know of to where it's a discussion. Other churches have "Bible studies" but they are the pastor teaching...you just listen, then go home, lol.

P.S.S. What kind of "hurts" is that I could teach these brothers not only about dispensationalism...but of the other views too.

I still feel a call to ministry: (though I bombed out of a dispensationalist Bible college, 11 hours short of a B.A. in Bible & Theology).

Maybe I'm "called" to teach truth...whenever I can?
The churches in my area are decisively modernist or postmodernist, which is another (though related) topic. By this I mean to to say that, they are either closed-minded on prophecy...or "pan-millennial" (the PoMo notion that prophecy doesn't really matter), blah-blah-blah....
Anyways, thanks! Smile
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your feedback, Michelle & Laz, Smile

There's a 'born-again' denomination here that's amillennial: the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). I've visited it before and, while it's a decent church, it is not charismatic (and I am). It's almost like I have a check-list of doctrinal truths going on here, huh?

At this study this past week I did pray (in my mind) before I spoke. The things I said would have made the men think, without my actually telling my beliefs.

All things considered, right now I'm going to keep it simple and pray for direction. To be honest about it, going to this dispensational study probably isn't good for my spiritual health. I've had thoughts, or temptations (perhaps (?), that "all this stuff is just man-made religion."

I don't want to go back to a place of leaving 'Christianity'....
(It's one thing to leave a religion, and quite another thing to leave God)....
I left the religion stuff behind behind (no pun intended, Wink) a long time ago, early 80s. No, I never came back to it so I have no need to abandon it!!!

I called my cousin tonite to talk about this topic.
His advice was that doctrinal differences should be set aside and that the main thing is people getting saved. This may be true to a certain extent. However, truth is not a separate thing from the Gospel or "getting saved." I can't slice & dice things like that....
(What? "Get people saved" to believe Palestinians are living on "God's Property")???

Shocked SUMBODY HELP ME Exclamation
(Ooooops, sorry, I got too globally minded...or just "minded")!
After all, isn't it "(postmodernist) pan-millennial" as long as we USA folks are comfy?
"Hey Palestinians, God loves you but wants you to move!!!" (?????).....
(Is this the Gospel people are being saved to)?

NOT THE CASE!
(HELP)!


At any rate, I'm accountable to God, am committed to the whole truth, and may just have to take a break from "church". I had a brief temptation to drink (alcohol) this evening...probably due to frustration over these things...which came & went with prayer, as it usually does, Praise the Lord (for that)! I talked with Steve about issues related to my former alcohol problem on the radio also, another topic....

I'll be fine, I'm sure: I won't drink over Hal Lindsay or Tim LaHaye!!!!
But right now I feel like "I don't need any 'religious' stuff."
(I'll put it like that & leave it at that)....

Rant over, I may take a break from church/religion and seek the Face of God Almighty!!!
(I'm burnt-out (fried to a crisp!) on the local 'dumbed down'/postmodernist religion)!!!

JESUS REIGNS!!! and:
Thanks very much folks! Smile
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more post to "vent"...and hopefully get this out of my system.

The following was a letter to the editor of my local newspaper from this past Friday, May 2. I know the person who wrote it, who sent me an email with essentially the same content. I received the email about one day after I heard a guy (in this Bible study) say, "President Bush could be the AntiChrist!"

I had about a two day long debate by email with the author of this letter to the editor and ended it with a link to Steve's site, saying, "If you listen to his lectures, his views are about the same as mine on eschatology."

A letter to the editor wrote:
To the editor:

Last week the pope was here in America. It was late at night and I was laying in my bed and there was the pope at a gathering of interreligious representatives. The pope was giving a message of unity and peace. After he was finished with his speech, they all thanked him for showing them the way to peace. And to show appreciation for drawing them together in a bond of peace to advance the cause of interreligious understanding here in America, they presented him with symbols of peace.

These symbols were presented by a total of 10 representatives from these communities, three Jewsih, one Jaine, one Buddhist, one Hindu, one Muslim, one Islamic, and one Korean Baptist. Revelations 17 talks about a beast with 10 horns, so I was alarmed by the fact that there were 10 of these representatives. They ended this meeting by commending the pope for reconciliation between religion and culture. Immediately following this meeting, the pope was going to meet with several Orthodox Jews for peace talks.

In one of President Bush's recent speeches he said he believed before he leaves office there will be a Mideast peace treaty signed. This peace treaty, according to Revelations in the Bible, will be the beginning of the seven years to Armageddon. Daniel 9:27 says that this covenant of peace will be made by the antichrist himself. Therefore we need to be watchful for one who has such power and influence among men. If indeed there is a peace treaty signed by the end of Bush's term in office, then this charismatic leader is already o the scene. Daniel 11:36 gives description of this charismatic leader and how he will carry himself.

The former pope stated in one of his speeches that there is no way the world can be united politically until it is united religiously, so it is possible that we could be seeing in our world exactly what the Bible says will happen? If so, the good news is Jesus is coming back...the question is how many people are ready?


In our email debate, I warned this person about predicting the Second Coming (the person is "post-trib" and dated it as seven years after this peace treaty). I advised that we Christians should be credible....

I didn't say anything about Dan. 9:27: Jesus is the one who made the covenant!

There were 200 (not 10) representatives at the Pope's discussion (I learned today...and haven't talked to this person about this stuff since last week; I said (last week) "Our debate is over and please listen to Steve").

Btw, I invited this person to join FBFF also (above & beyond listening to Steve's eschatology lectures)...and haven't heard from them since....

Other than this, I'M FED UP ... Thanks!

P.S. I may, just may, write a letter to the editor myself to expose the 1830s dispensational errors: "End-Times Madness has 'Counter-Reformation' Catholic Roots"
Or I may not...I've about had-it folks!
God bless yous, Smile
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Sean



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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hang in there Rick! I share your frustration! I'm still looking for a place to go (local church) that I can feel comfortable taking my children to. That's not easy as most of them bend over backwards to give them snacks and playground time and maybe a quick mention of "Jesus loves you". It would be nice if they actually taught them something about God (it is a "church" you know). Rolling Eyes

That's not even going into the "church building program" that my last church instituted. I've personally seen this damage several church members lives and I helped them out. While it's been quite a blessing helping other members of Christ, I'm left wondering why the "church" was causing these problems and I was helping pick up the pieces? And that was just with a few people I got to know. What about all those I didn't help because I didn't know about them?

I used to leave the service in tears because of the way they would guilt people into giving their money to both an offering plate and a church building fund, without regard for Jesus own command:

Mat 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

Notice what is usually missed when this passage is misquoted. What's a weightier matter than the tithe? Justice, mercy and faith. Is it just to place this burden on (Christian) people against their will? Is it merciful when they are led to believe 10% goes to the local church building before their own children are fed or their own house payment is made? Do you think the widow who gave her two mites fed her children first (if she had any)? Is it faithfulness when a Christian pays the church their 10% off the top and is then unable to pay their own bills? What do the collection agencies think when they find out your an agent of Jesus who doesn't pay his bills on time. Yet this is what my church teaches (and they teach this in a financial class using Christian published curriculum). They say to write out your income before taxes and take out 10% for the local church. Then begin deducting for taxes and your other expenses. Like I said I've personally seen several people nearly get crushed financially over this policy. So I left. I honestly didn't know what I should have done. I tried to talk in private to the pastors, but they didn't listen. They were kind about it but knew how to handle "people like me".

While the head pastor would never come out and say it, I'm pretty sure he's Amil and non-Calvinistic. So I've go no problems there. Smile
Even so, I can certainly relate to the problems finding a good local church.

Hang in there! I'm frustrated too! Why can't we just all get along? Twisted Evil
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Stephen Patrick



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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few years ago I was introduced to Steve Gregg's teaching by an on-line friend of mine, an author who has written two "end times" books. He said that Steve's study on Israel was excellent and would help to answer a question I had concerning Genesis 12:3. That would be the beginning of the end of my dispensationalist leanings. I can't believe the huge monkey that was on my back concerning that teaching and what a relief to have it removed. Most folks, and I would include myself at one time, aren't very open to listening to anything that is amil or preterist. We were taught that it is heretical so stay away from it. Sound bites from other end times teachers were all I could say about those beliefs so I never really checked them out. To this day I cringe when listening to anything having to do with Hal Lindsey, LaHaye, etc. Your Bible Study on Revelation must be difficult with that mindset already in place of those teaching and at the study.

My wife and I left a church after 20 years because the building programs wouldn't stop. The teaching on tithing sounded exactly like Sean described. We currently go to a small CMA church. The CMA doctrinal statement is pre-mil, but really hasn't ever been brought up, at least at our church.
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies, folks, Smile

Sean wrote:
Hang in there Rick! I share your frustration! I'm still looking for a place to go (local church) that I can feel comfortable taking my children to.


First thing is, my "frustration" over dispensationalism is possibly as old as you are, Sean! I became "post-trib" at an A/G Bible college in about 1978. Within weeks I became amillennial also. (These things, after taking a course in Hermeneutics, "how to interpret the Bible," at the same college. They taught me how to do it and I learned the denomination wasn't doing it right)!

I know a church you'd like your kids to be in. An elderly couple (in their 70s) I've known since the charismatic movement of the 70s got kicked out of the Nazarene denomination for becoming charismatic. Since then they've became amillennial also. This couple are, somehow, pastoring in a Wesleyan Church and there's not a problem with their exercising gifts of the Spirit there (vocal gifts like tongues, interpretation of, and prophecy)! The wife teaches the kids about Jesus....

They live in my town but pastor in a town 30 miles away: A tad too far to drive for my old beat up truck...(that needs some work).

Stephen wrote:
A few years ago I was introduced to Steve Gregg's teaching by an on-line friend of mine....That would be the beginning of the end of my dispensationalist leanings. I can't believe the huge monkey that was on my back concerning that teaching and what a relief to have it removed. Most folks, and I would include myself at one time, aren't very open to listening to anything that is amil or preterist. We were taught that it is heretical so stay away from it. Sound bites from other end times teachers were all I could say about those beliefs so I never really checked them out. To this day I cringe when listening to anything having to do with Hal Lindsey, LaHaye, etc. Your Bible Study on Revelation must be difficult with that mindset already in place of those teaching and at the study.


I first heard Steve on Hank Hanegraaaff in 2004. After finding his site and listening to his lectures, I learned the process that he went through from "converting" to amillennialism was about the same as mine. It was 2 Thes 1:6-10 that seemed to "get" us. Those verses led to my becoming "post-trib" and a study of Revelation (personal, not in a class) brought me to the "amill" view.

I've been "cringing" over dispensationalsim since I walked out of Bible college. It's not something you get over, is it? Especially since the likes Hal Lindsay, Tim LaHaye, and John Hagee are being broadcasted daily into the Middle East (in their languages)!!!

I posted an article from Pat Robertson's site, some time ago here, about some Baptists who are being "persecuted" in Bethlehem. Why were they being persecuted? For being Christians in part. The main reason was they were teaching the local Arabs are living on "God's Property."

Dispensationalists don't understand the implications of what they are saying! And John Hagee is one of the most dangerous men on earth! (Senator McCain has accepted his endorsement)....

Once again, this Bible study has been something I'm "trying out." I stayed when I learned it was on Revelation. So it's not a matter of my being forced into it (it's not in "my" church). One reason I stayed was to see what new things the dispensationalists have come up with. So far, it's President Bush (now) as the possible AntiChrist and Russia and Iran (now) are possibly up to something that will "lead to Armageddon." Shocked

<sigh>

Laz wrote:
Know that you are not alone. This is turning into a great "venting" thread.

It is amazing what a hold dispensational teaching has on people, even when they see the falsehood of a pre-trib rapture, they seem to usually cling to the rest of the teaching that birthed it.


If it wasn't for the internet...(I'm in a minority where I live)...the web gives me a place to fellowship with folks I agree with. Well, at least on Eschatology, anyway....

I didn't intend for this to become a "venting" thread. However, I did vent about my frustrations on my local eschatology. (I knew what I'd be getting myself into by staying, and then going back, to the Bible study). As you say, some people might become "post-trib" yet remain dispensational (like the person I debated by email who wrote the letter to the editor. Btw, I should mention this person was "open" to amillennialism, which was one reason I invited them to join FBFF).

Michelle wrote:
It is possible to fellowship with people you disagree with; the trick is to find and focus on areas of agreement. Later, when a relationship has developed, you can more easily discuss areas of difference. For Rick to attend a Bible study on one of the books guaranteed to lead to disagreement is not going to be conducive to creating that kind of relationship because you are going to start off on the wrong foot, no matter what.


From my point of view, I knew in advance of the possibility of my getting off on the wrong foot with these guys. I've said I have a different view from them and explained it has been for a long time. But I haven't "pushed" any of my ideas onto them. To my knowledge none of them are really "upset" with my being there. But one guy, who I talked with at a Christian bookstore once; I know he's a "hardliner" on founding of the nation of Israel being a fulfillment of OT prophecies. (At the store we decided to drop it. Well, I did)....

I could, potentially, keep going to the study. I'd like to build relationships with these guys. Actually, a couple of them seemed like they wanted to ask me stuff (and they might be holding back also). At any rate, I can see how this could become problematic for the church. That is, if some dude comes in and starts teaching stuff contrary to what they believe...and maybe a few fellas get together outside of the church to study these things.

(I've been considering holding a Bible study in my apartment, except I have too much stuff in here, lol. I "collect" things people give away that I don't need and have no room for! Isn't Spring House Cleaning the next thing to be fulfilled in prophecy?), Laughing

Michelle also wrote:
When a pastor is manipulating his flock or silences well-meaning, biblically-sound opposition, I think it's time to find another pastor in another place. I'm also in that in between spot where I don't know where I fit, but it's not at the church I used to attend, which, by the way, taught that 10% off the top, even if your bills can't be paid philosophy as well, and, really, not much else.


The pastor of this church (who isn't formally 'leading' the study) hasn't "silenced" me, with the possible exception of, "The Two Witnesses couldn't be the Church because we wont be here." Well, he let me know this is what he believes. I didn't contest that, saying, "'Could be...could be" (and I kind of chuckled in a "nice" way of "Okay, we may not agree").

Again, the decisions we make about "Which church is for me?" has the criteria we feel are important. I used to go to the local Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) for the sole reason they are amillennial (though I much prefer a charismatic church: "criteria" again). And while I do believe in speaking in tongues, I no longer accept the Pentecostal position that they are the "initial physical evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit." (Besides, all Pentecostal churches are pre-trib/premill)....

In all of this (thanks so much folks) I'm trusting God to lead and am sure I need to seek Him for guidance and inspiration (who knows? I might get led to "speak-up")? I haven't had a really bad irritable feeling before I went (this past week, when I knew what the topic was). Yet I knew it could happen at any moment. On the other hand, I did have an upset stomach last week ... 'wonder what that was about?
Hmmmmm.....

At any rate, I don't know what will happen regarding this Bible study. (I need this part-time job really bad! and if I get it I won't be able to go anyway). Thanks, Smile
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Allyn



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 439
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rick_C wrote:
P.S. I should also mention that, at the first time I went to this study, I specifically said I didn't want to debate (or to start one). The pastor has acknowledged that I have "other views" more than once. However, I haven't really gone into them much, other than the illustration of 'the woolly lamb' (above) and saying I'm amillennial now.

Also, I went to this Bible study as it is the only one in my area that I know of to where it's a discussion. Other churches have "Bible studies" but they are the pastor teaching...you just listen, then go home, lol.

P.S.S. What kind of "hurts" is that I could teach these brothers not only about dispensationalism...but of the other views too.

I still feel a call to ministry: (though I bombed out of a dispensationalist Bible college, 11 hours short of a B.A. in Bible & Theology).

Maybe I'm "called" to teach truth...whenever I can?
The churches in my area are decisively modernist or postmodernist, which is another (though related) topic. By this I mean to to say that, they are either closed-minded on prophecy...or "pan-millennial" (the PoMo notion that prophecy doesn't really matter), blah-blah-blah....
Anyways, thanks! Smile


Here's the thing, Rick, as I see it. It is a form of fellowship as long as the nicy nice takes place but if one person or the other is there to "do the teaching" and "I'll show you what for" then it becomes something far different from fellowship and instead is about what I know and you don't know. This is not me picking on you but is me saying I have been there and done that. Put yourself in the pastors shoes and pretend also that you are the dispie sitting in the room and some "jerk" comes along and stirs the pot. Get what I'm saying? (you're not a jerk, you're my friend but I am making an illustration from my experience)

So am I saying that you should stay away and have no fellowship at all? No. I am saying pick uyour fights so that it won't disrupt fellowship. Sure, you may win over one or two to your view but I can bet that most there are for fellowship and not for learning. Sad but true. It should go hand in hand but it doesn't.

So here is the answer: Be at peace with everyone as far as it depends upon you. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Enjoy the time of being with other men and ignore the subject if it is fellowship you are looking for. Be a teacher in season and be all things to all people as the Lord gives you grace.
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Rick_C



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 145
Location: West Central Ohio

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Allyn,

I just tried to see when the local Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) has church tonite but their website is down...(and I think it's already started & don't wanna call).

You wrote:
Quote:
Here's the thing, Rick, as I see it. It is a form of fellowship as long as the nicy nice takes place but if one person or the other is there to "do the teaching" and "I'll show you what for" then it becomes something far different from fellowship and instead is about what I know and you don't know. This is not me picking on you but is me saying I have been there and done that. Put yourself in the pastors shoes and pretend also that you are the dispie sitting in the room and some "jerk" comes along and stirs the pot. Get what I'm saying? (you're not a jerk, you're my friend but I am making an illustration from my experience)


"Putting myself in a pastor's shoes" was what I did in about 1979 (while studying for the ministry). I went to the A/G's top theologian, who was one of my professors, to talk about my being amillennial: (You can "be" amill and pastor or be licensed with the A/G. However, in a few sessions with this theologian, I learned you cannot say anything contrary to dispensationalism). After learning this, I knew then and there I couldn't "be" in the A/G even as a member....

I've put myself in this (local) pastor's shoes also. From what I've said so far, I can't really say I've "stirred the pot." At the same time, I've expressed that I no longer believe as they do. Nothing in the nature of "contrariness" has been said back to me. But the thing about "we won't be here" (the Church, as the pastor said)...well, maybe you have a point. He wasn't mean-spirited in saying this, just matter-of-fact, like....

Quote:
So am I saying that you should stay away and have no fellowship at all? No. I am saying pick uyour fights so that it won't disrupt fellowship. Sure, you may win over one or two to your view but I can bet that most there are for fellowship and not for learning. Sad but true. It should go hand in hand but it doesn't.


I do think some of the guys might "be there" just because it's on the schedule (they don't say anything). Yet, they may not be talking because they're asking the kinds of stuff I did...(when I was a dispensationalist)...but are afraid to speak-up (???)!

I haven't had thoughts about trying to win anyone over: To win anyone over, one's views would have to be presented first! Of course, I'd like it if they saw things non-dispensationally. You can tell that, outside of "pre-mid-or post trib"---these men probably know of no other views than these: (Default dispensationalism: When the rapture will be, optional, yet they all seem to be pre-trib...unless some may be holding back?)....

My first time there (it's only two weeks now) I said I believed in a general resurrection and that "it is compatible with post-trib" (though I didn't say I was post-trib, as I'm 99% convinced that the "great tribulation" occurred in 70AD)! This isn't to say there may not be another time of ("great") tribulation, after the devil gets released (Rev 20:3b). I've tried to imagine what explaining "this paragraph" to these men would be like. Um, better not go there: Not now (or any time soon)!!!

My overall "tone," so to speak, has been that there are other views around and, really, this is all I've emphasized. Without being very controversial, what I've been saying is something like how Steve does it: "There are other views that honest Christians have held" (if you see what I'm saying).

Given the fact that, as it appears, these guys only know of "pre-mid or post"...I'm probably cut-off at that point. In other words, I highly doubt I'll ever be able to go into things like partial-preterism (a very difficult topic, especially if one isn't familiar with it at all)....

Quote:
So here is the answer: Be at peace with everyone as far as it depends upon you. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Enjoy the time of being with other men and ignore the subject if it is fellowship you are looking for. Be a teacher in season and be all things to all people as the Lord gives you grace.


Till or if I get this part-time job, I'll probably go back to the study. And thanks, Allyn! As I said before...I'm going to this study simply because it is a discussion. (If it were on another topic, I'd still go). Outside of a Christian couple who are my neighbors---and we get together to talk theology (I've discussed all this this stuff with them too)---and a couple people at work; I don't talk theology & Bible much outside of on the web (where I do it a lot, here & elsewhere).

But with your last paragraph, I think I should get with the pastor and/or say something to the guys. That is, by way of a more basic explanation of what has happened in my life ...regarding the very complicated topic of prophecy! I feel like I should go back at least once (and I'm hoping to get this job, which will start on the 15th if I do...if anyone feels led, please pray I'll get it, if it's God's will).

I might just give "my testimony" of how, at one time, I vowed to not (even) darken a door of a dispensational church...and how the Lord has changed my heart about that...(I don't know what I may say)....

Overall, I think things will work out as they're supposed to.
That is, I trust God to lead and am intent to follow.

Thanks for all this feedback, peeps! Smile
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyn wrote:
So here is the answer: Be at peace with everyone as far as it depends upon you. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Enjoy the time of being with other men and ignore the subject if it is fellowship you are looking for. Be a teacher in season and be all things to all people as the Lord gives you grace.


I have to say I share your sentiments, as well. I have no intention of ranting because I love my church and my church fellowship, but it's very frustrating not having people who think the way I do (and I don't mean substance, but instead approach to thinking). Most of our fellowship have strong convictions for Christ, and some have strong doctrinal leanings. However, there are virtually none who feel any need or desire to discuss them or enrich their own understanding. I've learned to deal with that. As Allyn says, when things come up and I'm asked (or an opportunity arises) I give my views and "leave them at that" hoping they work on people later as they reflect (if they are the reflective sort). Unfortunately, 90+% of the time, I just have to bite my lip and keep silent. When I find someone has questions in an area, I might send them some audio snippets or articles or an email or such and if they want to discuss further, they do -- most of the time, they send a quick "thank you" and it's clear they don't want to hear any more.

I think that boils down to what Allyn says -- be still and trust God -- go with he Spirit but stay temperate and loving, and be willing that some peple just want to be "wrong" (or at least simplistic) about some things (even most things).

It helps me to realize it's not just "doctrine" -- I abhor small-talk of any variety and get just as frustrated when people want to talk about sports or what-not. People equally aren't interested in excellence or art or music or beauty or literature or anything else beyond the mundane or American Idol or what-not. I'm just wired differently than most (as most around here seem to be), and I'm learning to be ok with that.
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made a post yesterday...and decided to delete it.
Here's why.

1. I've mostly been complaining.
2. I haven't really taken all of Steve's advice (haven't "done" it).

What Steve advised ("if he were me going to this study" as I had asked).
1. He wouldn't say anything if he had no plans to continue going. (I've kept going for something to do).
2. Talk to the leader (facilitator) or pastor to see if they are interested in learning other views.
3. To do this privately....
4. And in order to be polite and to not usurp authority. (This week the pastor did do the teaching, stopping the "reader" at certain points. Pastor's teaching was "strictly dispensationalist" and I didn't contest anything he said).
5. Steve suggested that I could give other resources if the leader approved. That is, if the leader okays it. (The real leader, I've learned, is the pastor, though it's an open discussion).

This week, (after asking permission), I commented on the Two Witnesses in terms of the two lampstands (menorah) and the two olive trees (Re 11:4). I gave some OT references and what the Jews have believed these symbolize: The menorah, a symbol of the burning bush Moses saw (Ex. 2), and, the olive trees as supplying the oil for them (briefly referencing how oil is for "anointing" also).

I then realized that, to these guys, this stuff wouldn't really matter (and no one commented, we "read on"). Why? They believe the Two Witnesses are future and two [literal] men..."who everyone will see on television," said the pastor. So what Revelation would have meant to the original readers (or hearers---the way I interpret this book and the Bible---is inconsequential to these men).....

I made one other comment (about the Temple) to which the pastor said, "Wait" (and then led the discussion in a dispensationalist direction). I wasn't thinking....

So, in any event, I'm going to follow Steve's advice. That is, before I give more "alternative views" I'm going to just listen. I can tell that the pastor probably doesn't want non-dispensationalist views presented and should talk to him privately before I speak. (I should mention that I went to the study early this week to try to find him to talk. He was there but busy).

Lastly, someone brought and asked permission to read the letter to the editor (I posted above). I said what I did above also (about predicting the Second Coming). The pastor agreed that we shouldn't do that! and also mentioned that some Christians think the pope (or Catholic church) is written about in Revelation, though he didn't say he did.

Other things were discussed that were "good" sub-topics wise. I'm praying about going back to the study and may call the pastor to ask if I can speak with him privately some time. (The study isn't very "in-depth" and I'm not especially interested in "brief" studies, so to speak). I'll take Steve's advice as far as "behaving myself" goes....
(will think-twice before I talk)!

Steve's right: I do need to get with the pastor; if for nothing else, to clear things up about where I'm coming from to him! (fellowship).
Thanks, Steve and folks Smile
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. I want to apologize to Steve because I "rambled-on" so much on the radio! Sorry about that, Steve, (and listeners too)!

Your advice (Steve) was excellent!
I'm going to contact the pastor to clear up the "where I'm coming from" to him...and to do it in terms of "speaking the truth in love."

(I've called him twice before the study...(and got his answering service)...to which I said, "I'll see you there").

At any rate, I need to follow up on (DO) what Steve advised!
And will report back here on what happens, how our talk goes....

Thanks so much! Smile
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather than "correct" the views in this particular study, have you considered asking the pastor whether you might facilitate a parallel study for those interested to provide balance and present one of the other views of Revelation people may not have considered ?

You could even go through Steve's tape series and listen one week, discuss it the next, and continue alternating or something. Or, provide CDs for listening alone and come up with an outline of a few discussion points to go through together each week...

I find I never really learn a subject unless I'm explaining it to others and resolving their objections.

Just a thought.
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Darin, thanks for your reply.

You wrote:
Quote:
Rather than "correct" the views in this particular study, have you considered asking the pastor whether you might facilitate a parallel study for those interested to provide balance and present one of the other views of Revelation people may not have considered ?


First, my getting with the pastor (as Steve so wisely advised) is imperative!

Steve (on the radio) mentioned that, to these men, I'm like a "Who are you?" (to just come in here and start teaching stuff)? I haven't "corrected" anything that has been said during the studies. I have said, "Some see (this or that) as ____." But I haven't been controversial, intentionally.

Since I wasn't there for the first (6) chapters, I don't know if they ever discussed the alternate views or different schools of Revelation interpretation. None of them have been discussed so far...so I'm assuming they haven't. I don't think the guys know of the "historicist" view, for example. I mentioned it briefly once, but from the response (none), I assume they don't know.

The pastor asked me what Dispensationalism was. I don't know if he actually didn't know himself (?) ... or if he was just trying to help get me in on the discussion (?).

You probably know, Darin, that many if not most Dispensationalists don't know what it is! In other words, to them there's only one view: It! They are dispensational but don't know! (You mean there are other views?)....

Quote:
You could even go through Steve's tape series and listen one week, discuss it the next, and continue alternating or something. Or, provide CDs for listening alone and come up with an outline of a few discussion points to go through together each week...


The only alternate viewpoints that have been mentioned is: pre-mid- or post-tribulational rapture.

Now, my neighbor, his wife, and I have listened to Steve's Rev 20 lectures and discussed them. But given the level of eschatological knowledge these folks (at the church) seem to have; I don't know how "ready" they would be for partial-preterism, for example.

Steve mentioned that it took him some time to get beyond what he had been taught (dispensationalism). I'm trying to imagine what it might be like to suggest to these men that "the" great tribulation may have already happened in 70AD....

Yet, as you suggest, and if I were to teach a class on Bible Prophecy; a general overview of the different schools of interpretation would be the way I would go (essentially just-like Steve does).

An Introductory Class on Bible Prophecy would be where to start, imo. (That is, before "tackling" Revelation, so to speak), imo.

At this point, it appears that the only other alternate views these men have are on when the rapture will be. (Again, try to imagine my saying something like, "THE great tribulation may have already occurred or begun")!

At this time, I'm not very close to "teaching" much of anything in this church: I'm not a member (Methodists have membership) nor even a (very frequent) visitor of the church.

I need to get with the pastor.
If I were to keep going to the study and to 'regular' services, at some point in the future I could potentially be in a position to teach (or to at least be seen as someone who's opinions are legitimate as in, "We know Rick"). I doubt that a non-member could teach a class; I'm almost positive this wouldn't be acceptable in a United Methodist Church.

Quote:
I find I never really learn a subject unless I'm explaining it to others and resolving their objections.


"Compare & Contrast," I understand....
This is how we learn lots of stuff. We compare what we were taught, e.g., to what others think or have thought. In my case and Steve's...this was how we "came out" of dispensationalism: We had no other choice!

I'm debating about calling Steve today...(or soon)...to ask about this. Steve often says he isn't trying to convince people, in terms of his wanting to prove "I'm right." I've taken this to mean it's not a matter of personal ego. At the same time, we all (Steve included, I'm sure he would say) want to have the right views presented and argued for. What we each think is right---we want it to be known....

Due to my tendency to "ramble" I'm working on making a question for Steve about this, lol. (JUST ASK THE QUESTION, RICK)!

So, at this time anyway, listening to Steve's lectures or my "teaching" alternate views in this church, won't happen. After I get to know some of the guys (if I keep going) I could possibly study with them, separate from "church." However, with all things considered; this could cause problems....

Thanks, Darin Smile
(I have 9 minutes to formulate A question), Laughing
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