Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

The Valley of Hinnom

posted by jfletcher

Rob Bell, the wildly popular pastor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has made news lately. His new book, Love Wins, presents a “progressive” view of hell.

I don’t want to comment on Bell or his book per se, but rather point out that the biblical setting for “hell” is an actual place. Often, people are not aware that places in the Bible are something other than symbolism or myth.

For example, Armageddon is a real place. Megiddo is an ancient site north of Jerusalem; in the Hebrew it is “Har Megiddo,” or, Hill of Megiddo. Napolean claimed it was the greatest natural battlefield he’d ever seen. Megiddo is the setting for the famous “end of days” battle.

Likewise, Jerusalem’s Valley of Hinnom, on the southern edge of the Old City, is the site of an ancient trash dump (which burned continually) and pagan sacrifice. The whole scene was so horrific, it served as a backdrop for the biblical writers’ accounts of the place of torment for the dead.

Far from some esoteric dream-stuff, the Bible is connected to real people, in real places and real eras.

The Bible is not myth, but rather a relevant book for those seeking truth.

The Clash of Worldviews

posted by jfletcher

There is an interesting “debate” going on within the evangelical Church today, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I wind up on the losing side.

In years past, the concept known as “Kingdom Now” was somewhat confined to the Pentecostal world. In short, Kingdom Now means that we should work to build the Kingdom of God here and now.

The opposite view is the one I’d call the Bible Prophecy view—that is, Jesus will establish His kingdom when He returns.

I fall into the latter camp.

One of the themes of Scripture, as it relates to the last days, is that the world will become worse: the creation itself is groaning under the curse, but people will also become narcissistic, thus (ironically) embracing Herbert Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” view.

It seems clear to me that our world, our culture, is disintegrating into a meaner and more inhospitable place. I’m not sure at all why certain Christian leaders embrace the idea that man can establish any kind of “utopica” (my word) on this sin-wracked planet.

But that is not such a popular view these days, in the Church. It’s all about building some sort of positive environment in which righteousness is the law of the land.

Many of the popular writers and speakers and leaders today in the evangelical world promote the Kingdom Now philosophy. Oddly enough, this is exactly the view promoted by Darwinists in the 19th century. The idea was that man can evolve past his animal instincts.

Bible prophecy, especially as it relates to the last days, is quite clear and not really hard to understand at all. Unless one’s narcissism compels him to believe he can interpret it or ignore it or re-fashion it.

As always, though, the marker—the signpost of history—is Israel. The nation is fulfilling major prophecies right before our eyes (notice the intensifying pressure on the Jewish state, a hallmark of last days theology).

Soon enough, we will all know who was right and who was wrong, with regard to the timing of the Kingdom of God.

I’m content to wait.

A Flood of Unbelief

posted by jfletcher

My enthusiastic (and unsolicited!) endorsement of Barry Werth’s book, Banquet at Delmonico’s is prompted because it is so relevant to eschatology, the study of “last things.”

Christ and the apostles warned regularly that the latter days of history would be marked by, among other things, a departure from the faith.

Werth’s research into the spread of Darwinian philosophy sheds interesting light on this subject. In the 19th century, people generally believed the Bible is true. They accepted the Genesis accounts, and that logically led to belief in the rest of Scripture.

But when pseudo-scientists like Thomas Huxley and Herbert Spencer simply added their presupposition that the Bible isn’t true to science…well, the rush to apostasy in the Church really kicked-in.

One of the first accounts to go was the flood of Noah’s day. Clever evolutionists like Charles Lyell understood that the general public would never go for a full-blown frontal assault on the Bible. Rather, it must be suggested that the earth was simply “very old.”

Once that obstacle was overcome, over time, it could be suggested that Noah was myth and so was his flood. The new science of geology would fit that presupposition, thus ushering-in the concept of a very ancient Earth.

Clergymen like Henry Ward Beecher (and later, Harry Emerson Fosdick) helped popularize such attacks on the Bible.

From there, it was a short step to reducing the books of the prophets to myth, legend, embellishment, etc.

The early proponents of Darwin never produced any real evidence that the Bible isn’t true, but they were superb at marketing.

Today, especially in America, even though Bible prophecies are more compelling with each passing week…more people miss the fact.

That is a tribute to Darwin & Friends.

“I Pledge Allegiance to Darwin”

posted by jfletcher

Having just returned from Israel, I found NBC’s “Pledge of Allegiance” debacle extra-fascinating. I also just finished reading an absolutely extraordinary book, Banquet at Delmonico’s, by Barry Werth.

The visit, NBC, and Werth’s book all dovetailed for me, as I have listened to folks all over the country question, with outrage, how a major network could “edit-out God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.

May I offer my opinion?

Werth’s book provides more than a clue, as he traces the spreading of Darwinian philosophy from England to America, in the 19th century.

The philosophical worldview of Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Herbert Spencer & Friends was met with open arms by men like the clergyman Henry Ward Beecher, the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, political kingpin Carl Schurz, and scientist Asa Gray.

The Darwinists actually thought of the Bible as “Jewish legend.” There is your key.

For more than a century, our beloved country has marinated in the juices of Darwinian philosophy. That worldview demands a reduction of the Judeo-Christian foundations on which America was founded.

Decision-makers in several spheres of life, mostly in the East, have developed their views based largely on Spencer’s social Darwinism. That is why our political, judicial, and media institutions do what they do.

There are still plenty of Bible-believing Christians in the U.S., but few of them pull the levers of power. A media giant like NBC, in general, is staffed by liberals. Plenty of them do not believe in God, or at least the God of the Bible.

That’s why a “decision was made” to delete God from the Pledge of Allegiance in a broadcast last week. It isn’t a mystery.

NBC is simply working-out its worldview.

When I was in Israel, I visited Jaffa, the ancient seaport where, the Bible tells us, a man named Jonah boarded a ship and was later swallowed by a large fish.

I do not believe that is Jewish legend. I believe it happened exactly as the Bible describes.

If Francis Crick could believe and teach, with a straight face, that aliens had seeded Earth with life pods that eventually evolved into…us…then I can believe a large fish swallowed Jonah.

One worldview has no need or use for God; the other depends on Him desperately.

Many would say it is too simplistic to ascribe Darwin’s views to this NBC thing. Critics of my view would almost all believe in evolution, by the way, so their criticism must be taken with a grain of salt.

I am simply saying that a nation steeped in the philosophy of naturalism, for a century, will logically end up at a place in which attempts are made to delete God from the national life.

That is where we are in history.

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