Sunday, April 09, 2006

What are you doing May 19th?

A few of you have either raised or addressed the issue on your blogs of how to resond to the Da Vinci code movie coming out next month. Though I haven't spoken to the issue on this blog, I have posted elsewhere that I will probably go see it. However, a recent post on Justin Taylor's blog has caused me to consider postponing my viewing for a few days. Like it or leave it, he offers an alternative for responding that I commend for your consideration here. (I still haven't perfected the trackback thing, so you'll probably have to scroll down to the post entitled "How to Respond to the Da Vinci Code Movie.").

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been mulling over several options in my mind. A girl I work with read the book and we've had several good discussions about it. I was thinking about inviting her to go with me in the hopes of damage control. Perhaps a one-on-one is more effective than the general discussion he wants to avoid. It would be nice not to see it #1 on the box office, though -- I was secretly hoping for a court conviction too, though. Sounds like I'm confessing malice here. Ask Dawn if I can bring magic markers and have the SS class sign her belly next week. On another note, (assuming you do) why do you believe in the rapture? I'm going to make you help me w/ eschatology whether you're ready or not.
Annalisa

Anonymous said...

pre-trib, that is.

adam said...

I read the post by JT and I thought is was alright. However, I think that he is asking Christians to protest while not protesting. That is, don't protest in the streets, but still protest none- the-less by going to a different movie instead.
Let's face it the movie is going to be huge, partly due to the fact that, as JT stated, story is great and fact is boring. Consider also the fact that the book sold 40 million copies in the last 3yrs! So, I guess I do not disagree with JT, but I still, well, (how do I say it...)agree with myself. Movie anyone?

NWMihelis said...

Thomas: NO ONE doubts that you agree with yourself. Klem tells me that's one of your main problems:-)On a more serious note, I am still planning on seeing it, I just like his idea of waiting till Monday. However, I admit, I also like annalisa's idea quite a bit. If you're going, why not go with an unbeliever(seriously). So Adam, what do you say? You want to go with us?

Annalisa: I'm glad you clarified pre-trib :-) To be honest, I don't know. I haven't started my reading yet for eschatology, but I'm planning on splitting it 50/50 between the rapture and progressive dispensationalism. All I can say at this point, is that the ONLY place I can see as exegetically making a stand for a pretrib rapture is with Daniel's seventy-weeks. However, that's far from the exegetical highground, and I do have some doubts that I'll come out pre-trib (especially having Osborne as a friend. Though he's never said it, I think he might believe "friends don't let friends stay pretrib." :-) I'm still open to a pregame discussion at starbucks next Sunday (Dave's idea) if you guys are interested. On the markers for Dawn's belly--I'll have to get back to you :-)

Bruno, Grif or Hayton:
If you guys (or others) are reading this and want to help with some arguments regarding the rapture, I'd appreciate some input.

Dan Lerro said...

Mihelis,
Your earlier post linked to the article by Akin was interesting. Odd that he is pre-trib. Maybe he can convert me when I get down there!

Chris Bruno said...

I don't have too much to say about the a pre-trib rapture, other than I just cannot see it in the text. Maybe read Greg Beale's Revelation commentary? Or, if you don't have time, read through Daniel and Revelation with an eye toward the genre (apocalypic) and the constant theme of future deliverance for the currently oppressed people of God.
I don't know any single article that explains everything clearly. The 5 views book on the millennium might help-speaking of which, the best way to get past the pre-trib rapture might be to get past pre-millennialism.
When it comes down to it, the timing of eschatology is not as important as having an Already/Not-Yet eschatology.

David Hayton said...

My initial response to the question of the rapture: "the rapture [in all its forms] is bad...really bad" But we've been down that road before, so I'll try to be more specific, and hopefully more helpful [if indeed I am right on any of this].

a) I do agree with Chris about wrestling with bigger issues first in eschatology, particularly the millenial debate itself. I also understand that you wish to generate discussion on the topic, and I read "Annalisa's" question in the opening comment. So, I will throw out a few things from own little and foolish head on the matter, but first I just wanted to echo Chris and encourage any/all to put forth much more energy into the millenial question than they would into the pre/mid/post- trib rapture question. First firmly establish that there is going to be such a seven-year great tribulation as pre-mill's allege [not to mention a literal 1,000 yr. millenium].

b) What would I suggest in pursuing the whole eschatology question? I myself went from being pre-trib/pre-mill to post-trib/pre-mill to post-mill [Edwards can do it to you, I promise!] and most recently [as of the last year/year and a half] a-mill--where I think I will remain nicely at home the rest of my life..., though I hope I never become close-minded or closed to bing biblically-challenged. Bruno suggested Beale's commentary; though I haven't at all read the entire thing, I have read some intensely sweet stuff [esp. in his thorough intro., and on chapter 20 itself] and would say: "with all your getting--when it comes to eschatology--get it!" In addition I would add Vern Poythress's little lay-friendly commentary on Revelation entitled "The Returning King"--mega sweet as well [and mucho-perfect for getting into the hands of believers who can't or won't endure the world of academia--feeble fools like myself]. Also by Poythress [I am coming to love this dude] is an incredibly succint and helpful JETS article that probably settles the question in the shortest and most helpful way I have ever seen: "2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism" Here is the link: http://www.frame-poythress.org/poythress_articles/19952Thessalonians.htm One more thing [plug your ears: the drum is coming!], read Edwards' "A History of the Work of Redemption." Although he never brings up particular eschatological questions per se, nothing is as helpful as reading such a powerful and concise overview of all of reality and history and Scripture--a useful perspective for contemplating any theological subject...

c) Now, having said all that, if one insists on remaining pre-mill, I plead with that person: "Please be mid- or post- trib! Whatever you do, don't be pre-trib!" Seriously, I'll do whatever you want, I will buy you your own red heifer--just don't be pre-trib! Why do I say this? Basically, as dangerous as I see Dispensationalism being, and as wrong as I understand the pre-mill posture to be, there is a "worst" kind of pre-mill--and the "pre-trib" kind is it. Biblically, it just seems far more reasonable [for nine good arguments, see Piper, "Definitions and Observations Concerning the Second Coming of Christ"--http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/eschatalogy/second_coming.html]. Theologically & pastorally, it is also very destructive. The whole mindset [in my own experience and observations] just breeds [or at least kindles]this whole comfort-craving, run-from-suffering attitude in our American/Western churches these days. The "blessed hope" for 95% of those in my congregation is not an ache for the revealing of Jesus--rather it is a weird future hope of being rescued from major cataclysmic calamity. Furthermore, I have actually heard with my own ears some of them reason from the "truth of the rapture" how concerned God is to take care of them even now [i.e., keep them from any/all harm]. Now one could argue that such fatal thinking is not a necessary result of pre-trib teaching. But I personally cannot escape some real and tangible connection. One further thing, even if there remains some uncertainty [and given the Biblical silence--there really ought to be] about any of the trib positions, wouldn't it be far more prudent to "err on the side of caution"? In other words, say that pre-mill is right, but it's actually post-trib, not pre-trib. What happens to the Church when all these cataclysmic things start happening...but nobody gets raptured? Now someone tell me if that will be helpful or harmful to the faith of many? It's not a joking matter, because if the big-T trib does happen, and every body's banking their hope in Jesus on a "beam-me-up-Scotty" expectation...there will be massive and huge problems. I sure wouldn't want to be a pre-trib pastor on that day... On the other hand, teaching post-trib, the best that can happen is that you prepare the saints to suffer radically; the worst that can happen: you're gloriously wrong and no problems caused.

d) In conclusion, despite going on forever, I really do want to graciously echo an alleged reply given by R.C. Sproul to the millennial question: "When it comes to eschatology, I land like a butterfly with sore feet." Beyond the basics of Jesus' true and real and soon and glorious return--which will spell final and eternal destruction for His enemies but ultimate and everlasting joy for His redeemed--beyond that--let's just rejoice together, drink a quick beer, and get our butts busy spreading the Gospel to the ends to the earth [yeah...togther].

David Hayton said...

Sorry for the confusion, folks.

Above, when I say "Biblically, it just seems far more reasonable..." I need to clarify that the "it" refers to the post-trib position. And then in the very next sentence I jump back to discussing pre-trib directly. Sorry for the unintended confusion and the horrible length. Please bear with me.

Chris Bruno said...
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Chris Bruno said...
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Chris Bruno said...
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Chris Bruno said...

David,
Thank you for taking time to spell out what I only hinted at:
I said, "If you don't have time, read through Daniel and Revelation with an eye toward the genre (apocalypic) and the constant theme of future deliverance for the currently oppressed people of God."
Your discussion of the massive pastoral problem of the pre-trib rapture is what I was getting at there. Revelation is all about the suffering of the church [not the post-church 'tribulation force'] and its eventual vindication. If we move all of the suffering in the book to a period we don't have to worry about, the book loses its force--as it has for most American Christians, myself included until the last few years.
Rev 1.3
Blessed is the one who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things written it it, for the time is near.
crb

NWMihelis said...

To my amill friends:

(This comment is really long, so if you get board and are inclined to skim read it, make sure you read the # 5 it will make the next post make much more sense)I realize as soon as I posted the comment that that was a STUPID question. If you don't hold to a premill position, obviously the rapture is not an issue. It's kinda like asking a calvinist, "Despite the fact that you reject that man has an autonomous (contr-causal) free will, where's the best place to defend that he does from Scripture?" I'm an idiot. Thanks for the suggestions inspite of my stupidity.

Now Hayton:

1) I will definately look at the resources you and Bruno suggested, especially Beale, Piper and Poythress (as time allows).

2) You said you'd do "anything" to prevent someone from holding a pre trib position. How about buying me Beale? :-)

3) Though I feel your (Bruno as well) pastoral tensions here, I want to settle the matter on more explicit exegetical grounds (even if it is tha absence of any, which is where I am leaning). For example, to pick the most extreme illustration you used:

"One further thing, even if there remains some uncertainty [and given the Biblical silence--there really ought to be] about any of the trib positions, wouldn't it be far more prudent to "err on the side of caution"? In other words, say that pre-mill is right, but it's actually post-trib, not pre-trib. What happens to the Church when all these cataclysmic things start happening...but nobody gets raptured? Now someone tell me if that will be helpful or harmful to the faith of many? It's not a joking matter, because if the big-T trib does happen, and every body's banking their hope in Jesus on a "beam-me-up-Scotty" expectation...there will be massive and huge problems. I sure wouldn't want to be a pre-trib pastor on that day... On the other hand, teaching post-trib, the best that can happen is that you prepare the saints to suffer radically; the worst that can happen: you're gloriously wrong and no problems caused."

Though I get your point, I'm not sure this sort of concern ought to drive our theological method. Likewise with the other examples; I want to let the text take me where it takes me. Then, I'll worry about sorting out the pastoral impications. Sure lots of bad counseling and application has come out of pretrib stuff. However I want to avoid poisoning the well or follwing hard after a non sequitar. Lots of bad stuff has come out of a misapplication of Calvinism, but you won't find me renouncing that this side of apostasy.

4) (Or whatever number this is) Bruno, your response showed up 4 times (I think). Does this mean you REALLY mean it, or is there some biblical numerology related to apocalypticism that I'm missing here (I'm entirely kidding on this whole point; I'm grinning ear to ear as I type it).

5) Hayton you have raised a significant point that I am EXTREMELY ANXIOUS TO ADDRESS. Can we still spread the gospel "together" (as you noted)? However see the next post as this thread is getting TOO long.

Anonymous said...

first, apologies to Nate for making it longer...but, actually, not so much as I think the blame for that lies mainly with Chris. First of all, I'm gradually becoming a convinced millenarian (as gradually as that can happen in 2 days). There just seems to be MORE in OT prophecy and Rev 20 that is being pointed to. That said, I'm also gradually becoming a convinced anti-pre-tribber (don't you love negative positional statements!=) On the millenium, what do you amills do with that info? Is it heaven/eternity or very symbolic of new covenant as church? Sorry for the (probably very naive) questions - I've been avoiding eschatology like the plague all these years. I'm in full sympathy with the bruised butterfly, but unfortunately for me (and Nate), the people we've got to stand in front of next week don't see it that way! The old school tends to land like a unbudging concrete brick on the matter and will probably expect any contrary arguments to be so-presented. Alas, but anyway, you guys have probably already dealt with that.
Annalisa

Anonymous said...

one more thing on the pastoral concerns -- just look what Edwards' postmill led him to! Visions of manifest destiny and the New World and God's new Israel -- and I can't even swallow George Bush's politicized religion! There's probably horrible implications and secret comforts to be found in any view.

Chris Bruno said...

Nate,
Don't you have eyes to see?
The four spirits surrounding the throne
The four horsemen of the apocalypse
The four corners of the earth
The four gospels
The four books of Esdras
The forty days and forty nights of the flood
The four posts on the blog
I'm running out of sets of four.

Seriously, though, I don't know what happened. I did walk away after pressing publish; maybe Luke got on the computer. Sorry about that.
crb

Chris Bruno said...

Annalisa,
Again, I can re-direct to Beale's commentary. I view Revelation as progressive parallelism. Chapter 20 begins a new section-note that the same prophecies from Ezekiel are being referenced in both chapter 19 and chapter 20. I take it that they are being fulfilled in the same event.
crb

Pitchford said...

I hope you all take it reasonably well if I get my sorry butt into the middle of the discussion. Actually I just have a brief comment to make, then I'll let you who know what you're talking about carry on the discussion.

Mihelis, I resonated with your plea to let solid exegesis carry the day (I also resonated with the impeccable syllogism that, if pre-millennialism falls, pre-tri...sm necessarily falls with it, and we are saved the trouble of dealing with it at all -- but, for the moment, I'll hold off beating the amil. drum, and mention something about pre-[thiswordiswaytoofreakinglongtowriteouteverytime]-sm).

In a word, II Thessalonians 2. If the "son of perdition," who "exalts himself above all that is called God," and "sits in the temple of God," is the antichrist who will so desecrate the temple midway through the tribulation (as every pretribber I've heard is quick to say); then what Paul tells the Church at Thessalonica, in the first three verses of the chapter must set the issue beyond any possible doubt. He tells them, don't let anyone deceive you that the coming of the Lord, specifically our being gathered unto him (so it can't be the second-phase second coming that they talk about), could possibly have happened. Because before it can happen, the son of perdition must be revealed, do nasty things, sit in the temple, offer pigs on the altar, whatever.

Anyway, if we admit the pretribbers' basic framework of interpretation, the pretrib. rapture self-destructs on any possible reading of this passage.

Now, as far as the amil. drum, I have to concur with Hayton's recommendation of Poythress' article on II Thessalonians 1. I find it simply unassailable.

I promised brevity. I lied. Lest I do a worse thing, I leave off here.

Pitchford

NWMihelis said...

Pitchford:

Thanks for the heads up on Thes 2. I need to read it with a text open in front of me, but this sounds helpful. Also, I plan on reading poythress and Piper this week as the Lord allows. Perhaps that will generate some more thoughts...

G said...

It cracks me up that this post started out about the movie and ended up being mostly about eschatology. I have to say that I think being at least familiar with the book/movie has a great potential for witness. Ever have a hard time getting someone to chit chat until you finally hit on a cool movie or book you both liked? Bam! the conversation just flows after that. Here is a movie that I think a lot of people will enjoy, thus they will enjoy talking about it, and to top it all off, it talks about (a very slanted view of) Jesus. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not too concerned about sending a message to Hollywood at this point. What I am concerned about is that people will see this (I can't change that), and (however seriously they take it) they will have questions. The best I can do is know the field and be ready.

NWMihelis said...

G,

I think you're exactly right (though I still may wait till Monday :-)

BTW, thanks for forming an inclusio so that this comment section could actually end under the purpose for which it began! :-)