Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Weigh the Evidence

Living by the principle that I want all of my theological and ethical beliefs to be based on Scripture has challenged me to change some of my views. I came to a posttribulational view after preaching through 1 Thessalonians. At that time I was confronted with the question of why I had always believed in the pretribulational rapture view and one by one my previous view was changed by examining Scripture.

Always reforming to Scripture is not always an easy road to travel. However, if our conscience is captive to the Word of God we must look at the issues at hand and be convinced by the evidence of Scripture. I am aware that those that hold to the Pre-trib view say that they have weighed the evidence. The Assembly of God has a positional paper on the rapture which states, “The weight of Scripture supports a pre-Tribulation Rapture.” [ See the second to the last paragraph http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_4182_rapture.cfm ]

The General Association of Regular Baptist also have the Pre-trib view as a part of their doctrinal statement. Here is their statement of faith on this issue:

XIX. Rapture and Subsequent EventsWe believe in the premillennial return of Christ, an event which can occur at any moment, and that at that moment the dead
in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of the Tribulation. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54; Philippians 3:20, 21; Revelation 3:10.

We believe that the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the millennial kingdom. Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11:1-9; Acts 2:29, 30; Revelation 20:1-4, 6. [ http://www.garbc.org/news/?page_id=31 ]

Weigh the evidence from both views as you examine the Scriptures. I don’t think this issue is one to divide over. It is one of those biblical topics that good Christians can disagree upon respectfully. I have good friends that hold to the Pre-trib view and it is not an issue that affects our fellowship.

Yet, if I was a pastor in a church denomination that had a Pre-trib only stance in their doctrinal statement I would have to respectfully remove myself from pastoring that church. I can not sign on to something I don’t believe Scripture teaches.

The timing of the rapture is not an issue to divide over in our church. You can find persons on both sides. Thankfully our statement of faith does not make the timing of the rapture a doctrinal point to divide over. It is listed below:

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE 2000 ( http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp )
X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11;