Friday, January 30, 2009

And Now, A Word from Our Maker

A shameless commercial? Perhaps, but it was so interesting, I thought you might enjoy it. [HT to Uncommon Descent].

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Turkey Is In the Oven

Turkey is an interesting place, prophetically speaking! Read this (warning: it is a bit long [HT to Andrew Jackson at Smartchristian]), perhaps this, this and this, and the following comments may make more sense to you.

For years, Turkey has been considered the most stable of the Middle Eastern nations. A member of NATO, a candidate for the European Union, one of the G-20, constitutionally secular, the Islamic (but non-Arab) country has been a beacon of reason in a sea of fanaticism and fascism. Though the population is all but 100% Muslim, since shortly after WWI the country has been more attached politically, even culturally, to Western Europe than to the Muslim Third World. Things are changing.

If there ever was a place that could act as a bridge between the Muslim (21%) and the non-Muslim world, Turkey is that place. I would add, that it also follows, that if there was ever a leader who could bridge that gap, there's no more likely place for him to arise than Turkey.

John, the Revelator revealed that Pergamum (Bergama, Turkey) was the throne of Satan, who is the Antichrist's prime patron. According to Daniel's prophetic description of the antetype of the Antichrist, and therefore for the type (666) as well, the Antichrist will not come through expected channels to his political prominence. Antiochus Epiphanes, who was that antetype, rose to power that way and had his capital in was what is now Antakya, Turkey.

Whether or not that makes someone like Fethullah Gulen a possible candidate to be the fulfillment of the Antichrist prophecies, I'll leave to you. Only time will tell; regardless, I think I can say with relative confidence, the Turkey's in the oven!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Only Rule of Faith and Conduct

How long does it take human beings in any grouping to veer off a course set by a founder? Human will is strong and unmanageable, even if it is in bondage, and the egotistical drives of our natures seek to leave their own stamp on the baton we were passed from the runner before. In our own day, any of us who've been around as long as, say, me, have heard a few anecdotes concerning the phenomenon or witnessed the reality ourselves. Someone founds a company, leads it successfully toward the attainment of a vision, dies, and in comes Jr. and everything changes. The company loses its soul.

The church world is replete with such examples. I remember well the so called, third generation rule, so relentlessly pounded into me and my peers while in Bible College: by the third generation, the descendants of a revival have lost touch with its experience and do not share the passion or drive for its distinctives that the revived generation had. Between the founders and the third generation drift set in. We actually see the reality within one generation, but by the third, it is so unmistakably clear as to be unmistakeable.

Given the proven nature of mankind, even supposedly Christian mankind, I'm puzzled by those who rely on church history to boost their notions of what was a more pristine, and therefore more authoritative, approach to doctrine and practice. The problem with that approach is that it ignores the reality of what we see before our own eyes, regardless of how far we've lived from the good old days: humans drift, quickly from the original visions of founding shepherds.

The problem is already evident in the epistles of the New Testament (most written by ~65 AD), as so many of them contain warnings to those contemporary with their writing about drift, change of course, misappropriation of doctrine, false prophets, etc, etc, etc.. We know the Apostles were handpicked by Christ to pass on the faith, to bear the authority of eyewitnesses: after them drift set in, quickly-- before their bodies were even cool in the ground. To give drifters the same authority as eyewitnesses is nothing but an invitation to play Leapfrog and Whisper Down the Alley with our souls.

Most fundamentally, this is an issue for the Catholic and Orthodox churches, but Protestants are not exempt from attempting to rest the gravitas to state what the scriptures do not, clearly, on the backs of the church fathers. The faith was once delivered to the saints, and written about by those that did the entrusting. Therefore, the scripture itself stands as the only objective basis for knowing what the unfiltered, untainted faith is. When I met Jesus personally, in my first few days as a Christian, he did not tell me to look to my elders to understand the faith, he told me to look to the Bible. Since then, and hopefully always, my only rule of faith and conduct is the Bible.

Friday, January 9, 2009