Finding Balance in the Practice of Prophetic Study – S. Douglas Woodward

The prophetic scenario for the last days is generally built around several key issues.  Certainly, one of those issues is whether Bible prophecy comprises predictions concerning future events or simply proclamations illustrating spiritual truths.

In some cases, the former sends us into unwarranted speculation while the latter may drive us into contemplative introspection, sometimes bordering on being self-absorbed. We must find a balance. The passionate inwardness that Kierkegaard identified as true faith must be balanced with the doing of social good as an expression of works of faith extolled by James. (James 2:20)

Allow me at this point to say that an authentic Christianity demands we heed both admonitions. If we deny future fulfillment of events portrayed in the Bible, our attentiveness to holy living could be curtailed. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3) However, if we commit to extensive conversations about future events and what the Bible has to say about them, our spiritual experience could suffer just as much when it comes to living out the commandments of Christ – daily – by failing to model the Kingdom of God through conducting our lives as if we did not know Christ.

No doubt: devotion to Christ should translate to a sincere contemplative piety. But it should also guard against overly self-indulgent spiritual disciplines in order that we do not forsake the local community of brethren and, more broadly, the needs of others.  We must love God and love one another.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Jesus never taught that He would judge our commitment to Him based upon how well we have worked out the sequence of future events. Moreover, He instructed his followers to care for others not just prepare (i.e., “prep”) for cataclysmic events. Indeed, I have often wondered whether “prepping” could actually be justified given it betrays anxiety about tomorrow. “So, do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34).

Still, as with any theological topic, we best, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Hence, in the final analysis, understanding Bible Prophecy is a worthy endeavor for several reasons: first, that we may be inspired by witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy – judging that the Word of God has been made surer;[secondly, encourage others in the faith; and thirdly, guard against false teachings that might lead less knowledgeable brothers and sisters astray.

The late Dave Hunt, in his book, The Woman Rides the Beast, offered this confirmation of the importance of Bible Prophecy to solidify beliefs and in some cases lead to saving faith:

There are many important reasons for Bible prophecy. First of all, prophecy fulfilled provides irrefutable proof for the existence of the very God who inspired the prophets. By foretelling major events of world history centuries and even thousands of years before they happen, the God of the Bible proves that He is the only true God, the Creator of the universe and mankind, the Lord of history and that the Bible is His infallible Word given to communicate His purposes and way of salvation to all who will believe. Here is a proof so simple that a child can understand it, yet so profound that the greatest genius cannot refute it.[1]

Peter testifies succinctly, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)

Of course, that “day star” (the “bright and morning star”) is Christ Jesus Himself:  “I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)

The Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. If our study of prophetic themes does not lead us into a closer walk with Him, we must question why we are study prophecy in the first place. At this, I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” (Revelation 19:10)

 


[1] Dave Hunt. A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days (Kindle Locations 147-149). Kindle Edition.

This post originally appeared on Doug’s site on February 19, 2018 here – http://faith-happens.com/finding-balance-in-the-practice-of-prophetic-study/
Re-posted with permission.

Do As I Say and Not As I Do: The Tragedy of the James White Interfaith Dialogue and the Pragmatic Defense Offered by Phil Johnson

The current firestorm related to James White’s decision to facilitate an interfaith dialogue with Imam Yasir Qahdi is puzzling in the least and has become a stumbling block for many who do not understand how White cannot understand that he is “dancing with the devil” as the saying goes.  Mr. White’s response to those critical of his decision has been the polar opposite of remorse and he has in fact dug his heels in and maintained that his actions were right and consistent with what Christians should be doing. Is that true? What bridges can be built to people who teach that Christians who do not submit or convert to Islam should be murdered? What madness is this that has gripped Christians today such that they believe the lie that building bridges to nowhere constitute evangelism? I won’t rehash all of Mr. White’s actions related to this in detail. You can read about that here – http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/facts-reveal-james-white-islamic-dupe-clueless-evangelicals-are-desperate-save-his

What I wish to address is the support Mr. White has received. Surprisingly a couple of people with very different perspectives, one might say two people with theological beliefs very much at odds with one another, have stepped into the fray to defend Mr. White’s error. I am speaking of Phil Johnson and Michael Brown. This has added a layer of intrigue to the entire situation but has also served to obfuscate the truth of what critics of White’s decision to promote an interfaith dialogue have been saying. By engaging in what appear to be damage control activities on behalf of Mr. White, Johnson seems to have exposed himself as a hypocrite of the highest order. You can be the judge of whether or not that is true based on the information contained in this article. His previous statements seem to be completely contradictory to his stated position concerning James White’s ecumenicalism, or to use the new and improved phrase, interfaith dialogue.

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Matthew 6:25-34 – Don’t Live Your Life Under The Tyranny Of The What If’s

In our previous study we learned about the deadly disease of affluenza or materialism.  The reason that this is so deadly for the Christian is because it results in an unbiblical focus on the acquisition of things.

Materialism causes people to lose their ability to achieve contentment and leads instead to compromise and coveting.

Jesus tells us in verses 19-24 of chapter 6 to beware of the trap of thinking that possessions satisfy the soul because not only do they not satisfy but they cannot satisfy.  We are not designed by God to be satisfied by material possessions.

Notice that verse 24 serves as Jesus’ summary of the result of disregarding this spiritual truth – you will be mastered by things.

I want to consider two questions and their answers this morning in light of what Jesus says –

  • What happens when we disobey this warning?
  • What happens when we obey it?

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Matthew 6:19-24 – The Danger of Affluenza

Over the last several weeks we’ve been learning the difference between authentic Christianity as presented by our Lord Jesus and religious formalism demonstrated by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and many who profess faith today.

The apostle Paul would refer to this latter group as people who held “a form of godliness although they have denied its power.”  Paul’s exhortation concluded with the warning to “avoid such men as these.”

Jesus simply called them what they were – hypocrites.

As we look back at this great teaching that started in chapter 5, we come to understand more and more why Jesus says what He says.  For example, “You have heard it said, but I say to you” can be seen as Jesus saying “Your religious formalism demanded (such and such) but authentic Christianity, true righteousness is demonstrated by (such and such).”

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Reflections on Hear The Watchmen Conference – Dallas

Hi friends. Kathy and I made it home Monday afternoon after spending Thursday evening through Monday morning at the Hear The Watchmen (HTW) Conference in Dallas. I’m still not caught up on everything that needs to be addressed but I simply must take some time to share with you some thoughts about this past weekend.

Kathy and I have been to many conferences over the years. We were both saved in 1983 and since that time have attended too many conferences to begin to count. Most of them were worthwhile, a few were not, but only a handful standout. At the top of the list of these outstanding conferences is this recent HTW Dallas Conference.

What made it so very special was the clear presence of the Holy Spirit. Evident to both of us from the moment we arrived and gathered with the other speakers for a meal prior to the official start of the conference on Friday, was the singular purpose and goal. We were there to encourage and equip the remnant body of Christ and one another.

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