It has been a while since I have posted and I have a lot on my mind so I will try to get some of those things out now and possibly elaborate later.
I like Dennis Miller, I think he is funny, clever, tries to be honest with the people he is talking to, and isn’t afraid of being blunt. I saw his new show in CNBC the other day. It wasn’t as intense as his show on HBO, but that is to be expected. Miller is pretty conservative and I generally agree with a lot he says and often appreciate how he says it. His guest on that particular night was Jerry Jenkins who is co-author of the “Left Behind” series of fictional books dealing with the end times / second coming of Christ. I have read the first few books in series and did enjoy them. They aren’t the most well written books I have ever read, but entertaining none the less. I am generally not a big fan of “Christian fiction” but these books put an interesting spin on the book of Revelation. I don’t necessarily agree with the theology behind the books (meaning I don’t believe that the end times will have to look like it is portrayed in the series, but that is ok, it is a work of fiction.)
I had mixed feelings about the Miller / Jenkins interview. Both parties seemed very heartfelt in their questions and answers. Jenkins did to one thing that I was not very happy with: he stated that ALL Christians believe that this is how the end (Parousia) will look. That we all all be rapured up into Heaven etc etc… This is a preeminent belief of dispensational premillennialism – not necessarily ALL Christians. I have two qualms with this view. Firstly, I take issue with how the word rapture is used. “Left Behind” has the rapture taking all true believers up to Heaven all to meet Christ before the 7 years of tribulation. I see the rapture as a gathering of the people of Christ as He returns (See 2 Thess 2.1-2, 1 Thess 4.14-18 also describe this gathering with Christ in the clouds.) The word “rapture” is basically from a Latin word translated from the Greek “episunago” meaning to gather together. Yes, it is true that the word “rapture” is never actually used in the Bible, but the concept IS there. My point is that the rapture of God’s people to meet with Christ is not necessarily going to happen right before the rapture, the concept of “episunago” is not actually found in Revelation. Secondly, I take issue with that idea that all Christians are going to leave earth and meet UP in Heaven and remain there for ever. It is pretty clear throughout the Bible that at the Parousia it will be Heaven ON earth not some ethereal fluffy-cloud-land. Yes, 1 Thess 4.14-18 makes note of gathering up with Christ in the air. BUT, if you actually read 1 Thess you will see that Christ has already descended from Heaven at the time of this meeting. It seems that the fact that the concept of rapture will occur in air is more of a meeting point, a rally-point if you will, NOT the location of Heaven or where all true believers are going to hang out for eternity. If you only used this passage to figure out where Heaven was going to be and the end, you would not be able to make any assertions because Christ descended from heaven to meet us, the eventual location of Heaven would have to be ascertained in another manner – like other places in the Bible.
Other than that point I think the interview went well. Mill asked some very difficult questions of Jenkins. The eternal “Why should person A who is well educated, intelligent, and a really great person be damned to Hell just because he doesn’t believe Jesus is the Christ while person B who is not that bright chooses to accept Christ will make it into Heaven?” This is a hard question and the answer is even harder. Jenkins did a good job of not denying the Truth of God while also explaining it in a way that was not too harsh. I liked the fact that Miller was blunt with Jenkins about his own beliefs and did not seem to mock Jenkins for his. Miller honestly saw a passion and heartfelt belief in what he was saying and seemed to respect that. At the end Miller jocularly stated that (loosely quoted) “we will see what happens in the end and if, as you are ascending into heaven and seem me down in the basement, put in a good word for me because I had you on my show.”
I hope the Miller continues to seek and ask honest questions and will come to realize that God is not about damning those to Hell that don’t follow Jesus, but is about saving those that do. If we are honest with ourselves we will see that we are sinful and really do deserve Hell. Even the “really nice” people mess up and sin, we all do. That is the nature of man after the Fall. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we have another future available to us. God is the glass half full not half empty. God mourns for those that don’t follow the path to him and miss out on the eternity with him.
I have many more thoughts on that issue that will probably be saved for another time.
I would also like to say something here, because I really haven’t yet, about Michael Moore. I have not seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet, not sure if I will. I wish people could see his films as they really are – opinion. People, not everything you seen in a documentary is fact, please remember that! Moore has an agenda and that is what he is pushing, nothing more. Please, please, please check out this blog (thanks Sal) for a wonderful discussion of Moore and one of his more recent opinion articles in the LA Times. This is WELL worth the read.
I always have more to say but it is almost 1 and I have to be up at 6, so I should go to bed. I look forward to any comments you all have! It is very strange, I never saw myself getting into the world of blogging, but here I am getting out all these different resources to give me fodder for my post. If nothing else, at least I am educating myself!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is from a previous blog so the original comments no longer exist.