Saturday, September 19, 2015

Christians Suffering from Collective Amnesia

The following quote by Craig L. Blomberg is very insightful:

"Every time things take a turn for the worse in the Middle East, some enterprising Christian publishes the latest unabashed analysis of  how end-times prophecies are being fulfilled and believers will soon be escaping from this world. And a frightening percentage of the evangelical Christian public seems always to suffer a collective amnesia, forgetting how the same kinds of publications just a decade or two earlier turned out to include a considerable amount of false prophecy. The one statistic that remains unvarying is that to date, 100 percent of all such scenarios have proven wrong. This alone should inspire a certain amount of reluctance to pin our hopes on the next round of speculation. Perhaps we ought actively to look in a different direction altogether."
- Craig L. Blomberg, "The Posttribulationism of the New Testament: Leaving "Left Behind" Behind," in A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to "Left Behind" Eschatology, edited by Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung (2009, Baker Academic Publishing Group), p. 70.

Likewise, I have found such so-called prophetic teaching to be more like divination and interpreting omens. This is clearly prohibited in Deuteronomy 18:10: "There shall not be found among you anyone...who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens..."

Likewise, Jesus instructed us not to waste our time predicting the end times, but rather be engaged in the work of the Church: "So when they [the apostles] had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' He [Jesus] said to then, 'It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'" (Acts 1:6-8).

Craig L. Blomberg noted that many councilors and therapists say that the present generation of Christians "may be the least theologically equipped generation in church history when it comes to dealing with personal and collective suffering and evil" (p. 70). Yet, Jesus warned His disciples, ""See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name , saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray...Then they will deliver you up to tribulations and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved..." (Matthew 24:4-5 & 9-12).

Indeed, Jesus is coming again. In the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, Jesus said, "'And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.'" (Revelation 22:7).

Therefore, we must beware of contemporary false prophets who reduce Biblical prophecy to divining world events and omens, and false prophets who reduce Biblical prophecy to entertainment and fortune-telling.

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