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Posts Tagged ‘Pre-Trib Rapture’

(revised 01/07/14)

Note – I am definitely, positively, 100% premillenial. But as far as the timing of the Rapture, I am not so set in stone. I grew up a Pre-Tribber, but am now leaning towards Post-Trib.

In any case, I believe we should be prepared to meet our Maker at any time, whether it be Post-Trib, Pre-Trib, 50 years from now, tomorrow, or with our next breath being our last (with the Lord calling us home via a heart attack, asthma attack or whatever).

Having said that, the following is a defense of the Post-Trib view, along with a warning to Pre-Tribbers.
—————————————————————————–

Here is a Post-Trib warning to Pre-Tribbers: God never promised we would escape persecution. Yes, you heard right. God, in His Word, never promised us Christians we would escape persecution. In fact, numerous Bible passages tell us just the opposite. Here are a few such passages:

#1) Jesus said: 18) “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  19) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  21) But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (John 15:18-21, KJV)

#2) Jesus prayed to the Father: 14b) “… the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (John 17:14b-15, KJV)

#3) Paul wrote to Timothy: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (II Tim. 3:12, KJV)

In some of the world’s largest countries (China, India, etc.), Christians have suffered persecution unto death for most of the past 2,000 years. Why do American Christians believe they will escape persecution unto death?

I find it interesting that at least two groups of Christians today have no problem accepting a Post-Trib Rapture view: 1) Christians in “persecuted countries,” and 2) Christians familiar with Hitler’s reign of terror, with its Holocaust of Jews, Christians and others (two examples: Berit Kjos‘ father had personal experiences with Hitler’s reign, and Corrie ten Boom survived a Nazi concentration camp).

Shame on American Christians! In my mind, American Christians are cowards. In America, a land where the Pre-Trib teaching arose less than 200 years ago, many American Christians have succumbed to the teaching that they will never suffer persecution unto death.

In this article, Harry Bethel makes some statements I disagree with. But I am posting some excerpts here that I do agree with, regarding persecution. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]:

Not Appointed to Which Wrath?

We are living in times of easy believism, easy credit, easy living, and easy exit for the saints. The major point that pre-tribulationists try to make to uphold their view is that God has not appointed us to wrath. But we must answer the question, What is the wrath to which we are not appointed? And, can saints go through the Great Tribulation without directly suffering the wrath of God, as did the Old Testament saints in Egypt when God sent his plagues because of Pharaoh?

One of the purposes of the Great Tribulation will be for unrepentant worldlings to experience the judgment of God as have sinful societies throughout history, from the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Jerusalem, and others up to the worldwide judgment of the end-time Tribulation. Another purpose will be the persecution of the saints during the Great Tribulation in order to clean us up for the return of Christ. Much of the suffering of the saints during this terrible time will be from persecution and not directly from the judgments of God. (There will, however, be suffering because of not being able to buy or sell without the mark of the Beast, etc. Christians who do not take the mark will not be able to be legally employed, pay taxes on their property, buy automobile tags, gasoline, food or anything else.)

Christians during the Great Tribulation will be like those saints of the Old Dispensation mentioned in the Book of Hebrews. They “were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:35-38).

In Revelation 6:9-11 it says, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held…And white robes were given unto every one of them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” In the next chapter the apostle John saw not just Jews but “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes…And one of the elders [around the throne] answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation” (7:9, 13-14).

Pre-tribulationists argue that the word “church” is not even mentioned after Revelation chapter 3. That is true (except that “churches” is mentioned in 22:16), but the “saints” are referred to more than a dozen times after chapter 3. And Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Mt. 24:21-22).

Persecution & Martyrdom—The N.T. Norm

Persecution and martyrdom is, in fact, the New Testament norm. Jesus said to His disciples, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you…The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” (Jn. 15:19-20). Peter wrote, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). And Paul wrote, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

According to Church history all the Apostles suffered martyrdom except John who was banished to the Isle of Patmos. The apostles were thrown into prison time and again during their ministry, and suffered beatings and other persecution (Acts 5:40; 16:23; 2 Cor. 11:25; et al.). Paul was in and out of jail, suffered beatings and was incarcerated, under house-arrest, for two years (Acts 28:30) before his martyrdom.

We are not experiencing persecution in America, not because Satan has changed his strategy, but because the saints have changed theirs. Most Christians in this country have not been endued with power from On High and are not proclaiming a scriptural evangelistic message which includes remission of sins and repentance (Lk. 13:3-5; 24:47; Mk. 1:15; 6:12; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 26:19-20; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Most evangelistic messages are watered-down, easy-believism, half-truths that omit the need for repentance for salvation. Look at the Gospel tracts in the tract rack at bookstores and in your church building, or listen to your “pastor” preach an evangelistic message or give “an invitation” to see if you can even find or hear the word “repent” or “repentance” mentioned.

Some church leaders teach that believing in an imminent pre-trib rapture will influence Christians to live holy lives. But the Scriptures teach, referring to the heavens and earth being destroyed by fire, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?…Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:11-14).

There has never been a time when so many Christians believed in an imminent pre-trib rapture and yet the twentieth-century church in America can be characterized by almost anything but holiness. (With all the filth of the television programs and cheap output of the press brought into our homes, divorce,  worldly dress and sports activities, ad nauseam.) Most Christians in America live and look too much like worldlings; there is no contrast, therefore in many cases there is no conviction brought about by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the unsaved.

Paul said, “…We glory in tribulations (thlipsis) also: knowing that tribulation (thlipsis) worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3). This is the same Greek word used in Revelation when John saw a great multitude in white robes and one of the elders around the throne said, “These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation (thlipsis)…” (7:9, 13-14). The Greek noun thlipsis was also used in Acts 11:19 concerning the persecution of the Church at the time of Stephen’s martyrdom and is rendered “persecution.”

“In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 4:22). “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you…for my sake…Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mt. 5:10-12).

Tribulation and persecution is not the wrath of God. Again, persecution and martyrdom is the New Testament norm. The wrath of God that Christians will be kept from is the wrath of the last day and, of course, the wrath of the Lake of Fire. Those who have been saved by Jesus have already been delivered from the eternal Lake of Fire which is the wrath to come. Paul wrote, “…Jesus…delivered us [past tense] from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).

God Takes His People Through Tribulation

Even a casual reading of the Scriptures will reveal that God takes His people through tribulation rather than delivering them from it. Beginning with Noah and his family who were kept safe in the ark which was a type of Christ—they went right through the middle of the flood with torrential rains coming down from above and all the waters from below: “…All the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Gen. 7:11).

Another well-known example is the three Hebrews who were not delivered from going through the fiery furnace which was heated seven times hotter than usual. Indeed they went right through the middle of that persecution and the Lord went through it with them.

Yet another example of God sending His saints through tribulation rather than keeping them from it, is Daniel being thrown into the den of lions. He went right through the middle of that persecution, but God sent an angel to close the mouths of the lions. That great saint brought glory to God in that tribulation.

Like the Old Testament saints listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 and all the Apostles who were martyred except John who suffered the persecution of Patmos, God sometimes lets His saints suffer and die for His glory.

Beloved, let no man deceive you. The saints will go through the tribulation depicted in the Revelation. The Antichrist will be given power “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). The prophet Daniel wrote concerning the Antichrist, “He will speak against the Most High and oppress His saints…The saints will be handed over to him [the Antichrist] for [three and a half years]…He [the Antichrist] will destroy the mighty men and the holy people” (Dan. 7:25, 8:24).  Christians who are compromisers before the Great Tribulation are not going to be overcomers through it.

FOR FURTHER READING

Corrie Ten Boom on the Rapture of the Church

Preparing for Persecution, by Berit Kjos

Read Full Post »

(blog under construction)

I was brought up believing in a Pre-Trib Rapture. I did not learn until the 1980s that the Pre-Trib Rapture was a very recent theory, popularized in the 1800s.

One caveat: although I now hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib.

Click here for the original text of the following article. I have corrected the grammar in a few places. Also, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

The Origin Of The Pretribulational Rapture Theory

Ed F. Sanders


1. Origins

There have been many articles, essays, and books written about the origin of the pretrib rapture teaching. The most prevalent theories among scholars are:

1. that the doctrine began within the Irviningite sect in England in the early 1800’s (see article by George Ladd, article by Art Katterjohn)
2. that it originated in the Plymouth Brethren movement from the teachings of John Nelson Darby in the early 1800’s.
3. that it originated with a Mr. Tweedy, who passed it on to Darby and the Plymouth Bretren [sic]
4. that it originated with aberrant Catholic theologians (Jesuit priests) Ribera and Emmanuel Lucanza, see article by J.P. Eby)
5. that it originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788 (1).
6. The doctrine started in the early church with a writer called Pseudo-Ephraim. (The author of this work is unknown (hence, ‘pseudo’), its conclusions uncertain, and the date written is in question. Of all the ‘theories’ this is the least credible (2)).

One thing is clear from the available historical documents: Darby, called the ‘father of dispensationalism’, was responsible for the widespread dissemination of the new and novel pretrib doctrine beginning around 1830 through his ministry in the Plymouth Brethern movement. The doctrine soon spread to America and was widely popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible.

In my mind the final word on the origin of the pretrib teaching cannot be known with 100% certainty based on the documents available. I think that the best explanation is summarized by Timothy P. Weber (Memphis Theological Seminary) who wrote:

 “The pretribulation rapture……historians are still trying to determine how or where Darby got it. . . . Possibly, we may have to settle for Darby’s own explanation. He claimed that the doctrine virtually jumped out of the pages of Scripture once he accepted and consistently maintained the distinction between Israel and the church”. (Timothy P. Weber, Living In The Shadow Of The Second Coming: American Premillennialism 1875-1982. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983, pp. 21-22).

John Nelson Darby commenting on 2 Thess. 2:1-2 in 1850:

 “It is this passage which, twenty years ago, made me understand the rapture of the saints before — perhaps a considerable time before — the day of the Lord, that is, before the judgment of the living.” (3)

So, according to Darby he held a different view until 1830 when he came to understand the pretrib rapture doctrine. Until further documentation turns up it seems then most likely that John Nelson Darby originated the pretrib teaching and was responsible for its wide distribution in the years that followed.

2. Quotes from early Plymouth Brethren: (contemporary with Darby)

Under “The First Appearances of Secret Rapture Teaching” on page 45 of B. W. Newton and Dr. S. P. Tregelles – Teachers of the Faith and the Future (2nd Edition, 1969, The Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, London) George H. Fromow says, “Dr. S. P. Tregelles has recorded for us the origin of this teaching in his book The Hope of Christ’s Coming, How is is Taught in Scripture and Why? (page 35 of the fifth edition).

“Dr. Tregelles further wrote:  ‘When the theory of a secret coming of Christ was first brought forward (about the year 1832), it was adopted with eagerness; it suited certain preconceived opinions, and it was accepted by some at that which harmonized contraditory [sic] thoughts, whether such thoughts, or any of them, rested on the sure warrant of God; [sic] written Word”.

There follows the quotation given above by Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Fromow goes on to opine, “If the exactterms [sic] used by Dr. Tregelles are noted, allowance can be made, that suggestions of a ‘secret coming’ were put forth a few years earlier, some say at the first Albury conference in 1826; but the precise date does not alter the fact that it was a novel doctrine”.

3. More Quotes regarding the origin of the pretrib rapture theory:

[I have rearranged these individuals alphabetically]

F. F. Bruce: well known Plymouth Brethren historian and theologian says: “Where did he [Darby] get it? The reviewer’s answer would be that it was in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy”. (Book Review of The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin in The Evangelical Quarterly, (Vol. XLVII, No. 1).

Robert Cameron: “Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down…. Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church – a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past – that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom – such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.” (Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73).

Harry Ironside(4): In 1908 Ironside claimed Darby had rediscovered the apostolic teaching lost to the church: “Until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of the distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, [the pretribulational rapture] is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred years! If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological treatises of the scholastic divines, Roman Catholic writers of all shades of thought; the literature of the reformation; the sermons and expositions of the Puritans; and the general theological works of the day. He will find “the mystery” conspicuous by its absence”. (Harry A. Ironside, The Mysteries of God, New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1908, pp 50–51).

Philip Mauro: “The entire system of ‘dispensational teaching’ is modernistic in the strictest sense; for it first came into existence within the memory of persons now living; and was altogether unknown even in their younger days; It is more recent than Darwinism.”“A system of doctrine that contradicts what has been held and taught by every Christian expositor and every minister of Christ from the very beginning of the Christian era—suddenly made its appearance in the later part of the nineteenth century”.”

Alexander Reese: “About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.” (Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18)

Charles C. Ryrie: a dispensational theologian writes: “The distinction between Israel and the Church leads to the belief that the Church will be taken from the earth before the beginning of the tribulation (which in one major sense concerns Israel).” (Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, pp. 158-160). (That seems to fit with the theory that Darby originated the teaching based on his dispensational hermeneutic. Ed.)

E. R. Sandeen: “Darby introduced into discussion at Powerscourt (1833) the ideas of a secret rapture of the church and of a parenthesis in prophetic fulfillment between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel. These two concepts constituted the basic tenets of the system of theology since referred to as dispensationalism” (E.R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism 1800-1930, University of Chicago Press, 1970)

Edmund Shackleton: All who held the premillennial Coming of Christ were, till about sixty years ago, of one mind on the subject. About that time a new view was promulgated that the Coming of Christ was not one event, but that it was divided into stages, in fact, that Christ comes twice from heaven to earth, but the first time only as far as the air. This first descent, it is said, will be for the purpose of removing the Church from the world, and will occur before the Great Tribulation under Antichrist. This they call “The coming for His saints” or “Secret Rapture.” The second part of the Coming is said to take place when Christ appears in glory and destroys the Antichrist. This they call “The coming with His saints.”

Apart from the test of the Word, which is the only final one, there are certain reasons why this doctrine should be viewed with suspicion. It appears to be little more than sixty years old; and it seems highly improbable that if scriptural it could have escaped the scrutiny of the many devoted Bible students whose writings have been preserved to us from the past. More especially in the writings of the early Christian fathers would we expect to find some notice of this doctrine, if it had been taught by the Apostles; but those who have their works declare that they betray no knowledge of a theory that the Church would escape the Tribulation under Antichrist, or that there would be any “coming” except that spoken of in Matthew 24, as occurring in manifest glory “after the Tribulation.” This is all the more significant, because these writers bestowed much attention upon the subject of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. Augustine, referring to Daniel 7, wrote: “But he who reads this passage even half asleep cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church.” (Edmund Shackleton, Will the Church Escape the Great Tribulation?  pp. 31, 32, cited by Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, p. 231.)

A. W. Tozer: “Here is a doctrine that was not known or taught until the beginning of this century and it is already causing splits in churches.”

John Walvoord: thinks the pretrib rapture theory originated from Darby’s understanding of ecclesiology: “any careful student of Darby soon discovers that he did not get his eschatological views from men, but rather from his doctrine of the church as the body of Christ, a concept no one claims was revealed supernaturally to Irving or Macdonald.  Darby’s views undoubtedly were gradually formed, but they were theologically and biblically based rather than derived from Irving’s pre-Pentecostal group”. (Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, p. 47.)

4. Implications!

Sometimes overlooked are the implications of the pretrib rapture recent origins. In my book Outline Studies On The Rapture Question (1973) I wrote “Search the pages of Church history and literature, and you will not find one mention of the Lord coming before the Tribulation until after 1800. No one has ever cited any literature, writings, or quotes to the contrary! The implications of this truth are serious. If the Pre-Tribulation doctrine were true, it would mean that it was hidden from the church for 19 centuries. Not one of the brilliant theologians or Bible teachers before the 1800’s were able to find a Pretrib rapture and coming of the Lord on the pages of Holy Scripture—an incredulous improbability to say the least!”


(1). Some scholars like John L. Bray promote the theory that the pretrib teaching originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788. A close analysis of his writing Millennium, Last-Novelities clearly does not outline end-time events as found in the teachings of Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, etc. See the analysis by Tim Warner in his article on Morgan Edwards.

(2) For more information on the pre-Darby pretrib theories see my friend Dave MacPherson’s article Deceiving And Being Deceived.

(3) Cited by Wm Kelly in The Rapture of the Saints: Who Suggested It, Or Rather On What Scripture? The Bible Treasury, New Series, vol. 4, p. 314-318.

(4) Harry Ironside (1876-1951) was an ardent pretrib dispensationalist, prolific writer, and former pastor of Moody Memorial Church.

(5) This was written in 1973 before the various claims of a pre-Darby pretrib rapture were widely known. But even if Morgan Edwards or one of the Jesuit priests taught the pretrib rapture theory before the 1800’s it would mean that the doctrine was hidden from the Church for more than 1600+ years!

Updated 7-24-2011

www.theologue.org

FOR FURTHER READING

The Rapture, the Tribulation and Christ’s Churchincludes a number of links to additional Post-Trib articles

Who’s Who in Prophecy – A huge list, this article gives positive ratings to Pre-Tribbers only.  Although I may not agree with the negative way Post-Tribbers are rated, the list provides a great deal of info on a number of Bible prophecy authorities, holding many different views. I see some big  names are not included, such as Berit Kjos.

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(revised 07/03/12)

Don’t get me wrong – I love Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches – particularly those recommended by Bro. David Cloud. Specifically, I love their faithfulness to the King James Bible, their zeal for soulwinning, their adherence to traditional worship services only, altar calls, the old hymns of the Faith, and so on.

But being brought up in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, there are certain teachings I am uncomfortable with among IFBs. I am addressing a few of these in this blog.

Below I am reposting an article from Andrew Strom. Strom is a controversial character in some circles, but I believe this article is right on. Click here for the original text of Strom’s article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

THREE DOCTRINES from HELL

by Andrew Strom


Let us begin with an important question, “What are the worst and most damaging doctrines in the Western church today?”

I believe that the most damaging ones are the ones that actually steal people’s salvation and afterwards wrap them in a false cocoon of comfort and assurance.  Three major doctrines do this. [I would disagree that these are the three most damaging doctrines, but they are certainly a problem.]

There is nothing worse than giving false comfort to people who are in danger.  It is the worst crime imaginable and yet preachers do it every week across the Western world.

Imagine if a building was on fire, but instead of crying out and warning the people, you went and comforted them and assured them they were OK — even while the smoke curled up from beneath.  Wouldn’t it be your fault if those people believed you and were killed?

Such is the situation today, and God will hold to account those who lull the sheep falsely with soothing lies. I tell you – this is a matter of life and death. And God’s judgment is coming against all who prove to be such hirelings – “tickling the ears”.

The 3 DOCTRINES from HELL:

(1) “ASK JESUS into your HEART”.  [IFB David Cloud does an excellent job of critiquing Easy Believism – he prefers the term Easy Prayerism. On the second and third doctrines discussed in this article, Bro. Cloud tends to defend them.] We have spoken about this before, so I won’t spend too long on it here. The fact of the matter is that NOBODY in the Bible ever “asked Jesus in” or ‘gave their heart to the Lord’ to become a Christian. There is NOT ONE instance of this ever happening. There are no people in the Book of Acts repeating a “sinner’s prayer” to get saved.  Nothing like it.  This doctrine simply DOES NOT EXIST in the Bible.

So what did people do in Acts?  Well, every time they wanted to become a Christian, they deeply REPENTED, they were BAPTIZED IN WATER, and also BAPTIZED in the HOLY SPIRIT. [I’m not sure why Strom puts this emphasis on immediate water baptism. To me water baptism is simply a witness to the world, “the outward sign of an inward change.” I do realize that in certain countries – such as India – Christians put their lives on the line when they take the step of a public witness i.e. water baptism. Also, I’m not sure why Strom places emphasis on immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit. This usually is not the reality of most Christians’ lives; even in the book of Acts,  Christians prayed, grew in Christ and prepared themselves for forty days before the Day of Pentecost. Also, an immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit runs against the grain of my Wesleyan Holiness beliefs.] These three things were always done straight away [again I question this – “always”?] – and were regarded as ESSENTIAL – not just “optional extras”. We are short-changing the entire church today with a doctrine that simply CANNOT BE FOUND in Scripture.  Merely “ASKING JESUS IN” is totally unscriptural. It is time to go back to getting people saved the BIBLE WAY. (-See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6, Acts 22:16, etc.  See also my in-depth article at- http://www.revivalschool.com ).

Please notice that what the church is doing here is replacing Truth with something CONVENIENT, COMFORTABLE and EASY. “Just come forward and say this little prayer,” we tell them. No mention of DEEP REPENTANCE at all. -And a total lack of any real TRANSFORMATION into a “NEW CREATURE”. This is no salvation at all. We are robbing people blind in the name of comfort and convenience. How typical of the West. We have invented a lukewarm “salvation experience” to go with our lukewarm church.

(2) “ONCE SAVED – ALWAYS SAVED”. Now, having got people falsely “saved”, we create another ear-tickling wonder to make sure that they sleep on contentedly in the pews. While emphasising ‘tithing’ and attending church (-in that order) the main thing now is to keep them warm and happy – convinced of their “eternal security”.

And so we lull them with a doctrine saying that if they once got “saved” (ie. prayed the ‘little prayer’) – even if it was 20 years ago, then it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation.  No holiness needed!  Of course, we have to rely on the fact that they do not read their Bibles lest they find out that such a doctrine is a complete fabrication.

Thus, we conveniently leave out of our preaching such Scriptures as this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works IN YOUR NAME?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART from me, you EVIL-DOERS.'” (Mt 7:21-23). Hmmm. “Eternal security”, anyone?

And of course, we must also leave out parables such as “The Parable of the Talents” because it contains this verse: “And cast the WORTHLESS SERVANT into outer darkness, where there shall be WAILING and GNASHING OF TEETH” (Mt 25:30). Notice that both the above Scriptures are speaking of people who think they are ‘saved’ but who END UP IN HELL. -And Jesus says there will be “MANY” like this.

And then there are dozens of other Scriptures such as, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” and ‘Those who do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God,’ and “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” etc, etc.  So many Scriptures have to be ignored if we are to preach this cheap “Once Saved – Always Saved” doctrine.

But notice again how well this teaching suits our comfortable, convenient Western mindset.  Ear-tickling by the truckload.  Candy- coated and syrupy-sweet.  Can’t it be said that this is making people “two-fold more a child of hell” than they already were?

(3) The CHEAP “No Cost” RAPTURE Theory.  [A caveat: although I hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib. Andrew Strom seems to take a stronger stand than I would against Pre-Tribbers and Mid-Tribbers.] Now this is a dangerous one to bring up! But I am concerned not so much with the TIMING of the Rapture here – but rather with the CHEAPNESS of it. Do I believe in a ‘Rapture’?  Yes, I do believe in a great “catching away” (as the Bible describes it).  But again, we have so degraded it in the West that it just becomes one more source of false comfort and cheap grace.  This time to escape without a scratch before any persecution or tribulation begins.  Once again – how CONVENIENT!

We are led to believe that our rich, fat-cat Western Christians with their false salvation and their “no need for holiness” doctrines will one day be flying in their jet airplanes and “Woosh!” – suddenly they will be gone. -‘Raptured’. Just in time to escape any bad stuff happening on the earth.

There are entire industries and multi-million-dollar ministries built on this whole thing — the “no cost” Rapture theory. How wonderfully it tickles Western ears! How we rush to buy the latest Best-seller!

But wait a minute. Wasn’t it Jesus (talking about the ‘time of the end’) who told his DISCIPLES, “This is but the BEGINNING of the birthpangs. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake”? (Mt 24:8-9 RSV). How is it then, that we are taught a ‘Rapture’ theory today in which we are “caught up” without any major tribulation or persecution? Jesus in the above passage clearly tells his DISCIPLES – His true followers – that they MUST expect great tribulation and persecution before the end.

It is very obvious from all the New Testament writings that Christians must go through persecution, sufferings and tribulations – and that this will get much worse in the end-times. There is never a hint that we should expect to be ‘Raptured’ without going through this.  But again, the Western doctrine preaches comfort, safety and convenience – a kind of “cheap way out”.

Why is this such a serious issue?  Well, a people who have been told again and again that God will “rescue” them before the real trouble starts – these are the most ILL-PREPARED people to face real persecution. The people who are most prepared are those who have looked the danger in the eye, and prepared their hearts to go through it. With our false comfort we are doing the worst job in the world of preparing our people for what is to come.

To SUMMARIZE

As you can see, what we have set up in the Western church is an entire system of FALSE ASSURANCE. First, we falsely assure people that they are “born again” when they are not. Then we falsely assure them that it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation – no matter what they do. Then we falsely assure them that they will escape all end-time tribulation and persecution with an ultra-convenient Rapture.

We have it all sewn up! It is a kind-of “cradle to the grave” system of false salvation –a whole set-up devoted to convincing Hell-bound people that they are going to Heaven by the “cheap and easy” route. Like the Fast Food outlets that we have invented in the West, it is all about ‘Instant Gratification’. It is the warm and comfortable way. No holiness needed. Just like going through a McDonalds drive-through. “Do you want fries with that ‘HAPPY MEAL’, sir?”

Every one of these lies is perfectly suited to our Western mindset.  That is why they have been so successful. But that does not stop them being LIES. -Nor does it stop them sending multitudes to Hell.

We in the West have become devotees of a kind-of “no pain” religion. Sadly, that religion no longer resembles true Christianity.  Let us REPENT of ALL such doctrines before it is too late, my friends.

To respond with feedback about this article, please write to prophetic@revivalschool.com.

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom

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