Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I'm working on my message for Sunday. We're in the midst of 40 Days of Community and I'm talking about how we need each other to grow. I mostly know what I'm going to say, but any ideas or stories could be helpful.

How do others contribute to your growth?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ordination #2, Art. 12: Final States

I know I’ve got a good bit of editing to do, and studying for the oral exam board, but it feels good to wrap up this segment of the ordination process.

In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.
Scripture is clear that prior to judgment there will be a general resurrection of the dead (Isa. 26.9; Dan. 12.2; Jn. 5.25, 28-29). Our resurrection is connected to Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15.12-14) and He will change our bodies to be like His (Phil. 3.20-21). Our resurrection bodies will be physical, but in some ways different from our current physical bodies (Lk. 24.38-39; Jn. 20.27). After the resurrection, each person will be judged (Acts 10.42; Rom. 14.10).

Judgment is based upon what we do in this life in our bodies (2 Cor. 5.10). Some texts indicate good works are a factor in judgment (Mt. 25.31-46; Jn. 5.29), but there will be some who do good works that are told to depart by Jesus (Mt. 7.21-23). Ultimate judgment hinges upon responding appropriately to Jesus (Jn. 12.48; 16.8), but it is clear a proper response to Jesus will result in good works (James 2.14-26) that will be evaluated (1 Cor. 3.11-15).
The true believer can anticipate everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heavens and the new earth (Isa. 65.17; Rev. 21.1). This blessedness and joy include delighting in God’s glory and presence (Rev. 21.23; 22.3) where there will be no pain or sorrow (Rev. 21.3-4) and the believer rewards for their faithfulness (Mt. 25.34).

For the unbeliever the future holds condemnation after judgment (Mt. 25.41, 46; Rev. 20.7-15). God takes no delight in the death of the wicked (Ez. 33.11) and desires that all should repent (2 Pet. 3.9), but those who are not in Christ will endure everlasting (Isa. 66.24; Mk. 9.43-48; Mt. 25.46 – if life is eternal, death should be eternal in the same way) and conscious punishment (Lk. 16.19-31; Mt. 25.30). This is a challenging doctrine and our hearts should break like Jesus’ did over Jerusalem (Mt. 23.37-38), but it will ultimately result in praise for God’s righteousness and justice (Rev. 19.1-4). In the meantime, we should be motivated to share God’s life-giving message with those who don’t know (Jude 20-24).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What about the rapture?

I’m working on ordination stuff, trying to nail down my eschatology. There are few things I’m interested in less. If you read the post on Article 11, you may notice I left out the timing of the rapture. I’m going to rewrite it, but I’d love to hear of any readers (if anyone other than my wife still check in…) why you’re pre-, mid-, or post-tribulational in your view of the Rapture.

Here’s the updated “last paragraph” from my Article 11 statement, but this could shift with the winds. Any insight, questions, etc… would be appreciated when it comes to helping me wade through the swamp of eschatology…

Next, His return is imminent and this “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2.13) has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer. Biblical authors do not discuss eschatology for the sake curiosity, but to motivate the church to vigilant and diligent living (Mt. 25.1-13; 1 Thess. 5.1-11). There is some tension when discussing the issue of imminence. On one hand, we do not know when Jesus will return and disciples should be ready (Mt. 24.42-44; 1 Thess. 5.2), but there is an indication that waiting is expected (Jn. 21.18; Mt. 24.2; 24.14). While it is a complex issue, I currently hold to a mid-tribulational rapture due to the broad expectation in Scripture that suffering is often part of the Christian life and there is no guarantee of escape from it (Rev. 12.17; 13.7), but we will not be subject to God’s wrath (1 Thess. 5.9). Jesus indicates a “shortening” of the time of suffering as well (Mt. 24.42-44). This is, however, a complex issue that ought not be a major issue of division within the church, but should, again, motivate us to godly living.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

And, aaarrrggghhh, it’s “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” too.