Archive for January, 2012

The “Apostasia” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3

At the Pre-Trib Study Group last December, Dr. Wayne House presented a paper on the meaning of apostasia in 2 Thess 2:3.  He had earlier made a presentation at the same conference study group back in the mid-1990s, but had done some more work on it and decided to present the main idea again.

The debate over apostasia in this passage stems from the two major options:  a departure from the faith or a departure from the earth as in rapture of the Church.  Of course, if the latter is true, then the debate about the timing of the rapture of the church is over — pre-trib wins.  However, the issue is far from clear as Dr. House shows.  Most dispenstionalists have probably held that it refers to departure from the faith or rebellion or declension.   Some have taught that the great decline of the Christian faith in the West (and in the Western Church) during the 20th century is a fulfilllment of this prophecy.  Both of the two options, if I remember correctly, are listed in the notes of the Old Scofield Reference Bible (1909).

The translation of apostasia as rebellion as found in the NIV was rejected by House.  He suggested that this thought has existed only as a translation of the word in English translations since the King James Version but earlier English versions had favored the simpler idea of departure.  House argued that the word meant departure and that the issue of what the departure was from or what the nature of the departure consisted of was something that only the context of a passage could deliver.  Grammatically, the word does not automatically carry the idea of rebellion by the simple use of the word.   House points to contextual ideas (the general focus of 2 Thess 1-2 on end-time issues and 2 Thess 2:1 talking about the rapture itself.  Thus, he argues the following:  “What makes the most sense in the context, that the Day of the Lord had not come because a rebellion against government or a defection from the faith had not occurred, or that the departure to be with Christ had not occurred? Remember, in 1 Thessalonians 1, the encouragement was that the coming of Christ would rescue believers from the coming wrath”  (page 5 of House paper).”

In my own commentary, First and Second Thessalonians: Looking for Christ’s Return (2009), I respectfully discuss House’s position using his earlier paper that ended up published in When the Trumpet Sounds (1995).  However, I gravitate to the position that the word means apostasy, rebellion, or declension and that it is associated in some way with what follows — the appearance of the man of lawlessness (the anti-Christ figure).  However, I respect the argumentation of Dr. House and must remain open to the possibility that he is right.  Why do I go to the later connection of the man of lawlessness instead of linking to the immediate context given earlier along with the general theme of the book?  In this matter, I cannot be dogmatic.

Embarrassment and Prophecy

Last year with the failed predictions of Harold Camping (once again…and again), we have been reminded by many of the failed prophecies of the past.  Many come from the cults (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists/Millerites).  Y2K was extremely revealing and financially profitable for some video makers.  There were both Christian and secular alarmists on that one.  I have been especially curious about the rise of non-Christian doomsday prophecies that seem to proliferate in our culture — all of them NOT coming from a dispensational premillennial outlook on the rapture of the church. Read the rest of this entry »

Seminary Internships

When I went to seminary I did not have an internship in a church that was a formal, full-time position where I was mentored by a church pastor and staff to take the content I had learned in the classroom and implement it in real ministry and develop my leadership skills.  Looking back, I really  needed one.  While I respect the small windows of application that I received along the way, it turns out that my first real internship was the first church where I served as lead pastor!  They deserved better…much better.  For five years and three months I learned how not to do church.  The church members were the recipients of my halting yet occasionally effective ministry.  They deserve more than a medal. Read the rest of this entry »

My Story

My personal testimony can be found under the My Story menu at the top of my blog site.  However, I have decided to include it here since many readers only look at the blog entries.

All men in their innermost being want their lives to matter.  I am no different.  I have, since my earliest recollections, wanted to be someone whose life counted in a significant way.  As I have come to know and understand, a life that really counts is also one that counts for eternity and not just for this life’s journey.  Also, I can never remember a time when I did not believe in the existence of God.  From the time when I was five years old and prayed my first prayer when I had to go to the hospital for surgery to the time I prayed a few years later for God never to let Mom, Dad, my brother Jimmy, or me ever die, I believed I could talk to a heavenly Father.  Where this desire to communicate to the Creator came from I cannot tell.  I never attended a church service except for one occasion before I was twenty years old.  I can only believe that the Scriptures are true and wise when they speak of the innate knowledge of God and eternity that the Maker has placed in every one of us.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alabama Crimson Tide, Football, & Real Life

On January 9, about fifteen people, all Alabama fans (two graduates) and all Bible-believing Christians partied at my house as we watched the national championship game between my team the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tigers from LSU.  The outcome (21-0 BAMA) was pleasing to all of us and with excitement, we indeed proved that Baptists can dance!

Within a week, however, one of the Bama stars, a defensive back was arrested for possession of marijuana.  Deflating, yes…unexpected, no.  Our present evil age continues to degenerate all around us (at least in North America) as biblical living grows less attractive to a hedonistic society.  I will always root for the Tide being a graduate from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and having grown up in the state as an Alabama Crimson Tide and Bear Bryant fan.  I also understand the character building that can be in sports.  But students must receive and embrace the lessons for real life.  While I enjoy football as a fan, I refuse to let it become the center of my life.  On the days when BAMA loses, Jesus is still raised from the dead and at the right hand of the Father.  While I always look forward to football season and how my team will do, I am looking ahead far more to the glorious appearing of my God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.