Theologians Grapple with Logic and Faith Conflict
Published 2011 Apr 29
Three Kamloops congregations subscribe to a doctrinal statement entitled Articles of Faith.
It affirms the Bible is “the very Word of God…written by men supernaturally moved; that it is verbally and plenarily inspired; that it is truth without any admixture of error.”
However, despite the staunch, unambiguous wording, the architects of this document immediately abandoned their doctrine upon encountering a threat to their tradition.
In Scripture, Christ’s “plenarily inspired” apostles clearly and unanimously proclaimed a first-century Second Coming (e.g., 1 Pet. 4:7; Jas. 5:8-9; 1 John 2:18, New Living Translation throughout unless otherwise noted).
Therefore, the return of Christ must have occurred in the past.
However, unable to accept this obvious conclusion, the theologians behind the Articles of Faith chose to reject inspired apostolic testimony in favour of a contradictory prediction; something the Bible calls a “private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20, King James Version).
They wrote: “He will come again in person, visibly, with power and great glory.”
This implicit denial of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration has devastating implications: It transforms Christ’s “holy apostles” into “false prophets” (Eph. 3:5; Matt. 24:11), calling into question the very assurance of salvation.
Those who casually dismiss apostolic predictions as erroneous fail to consider God’s decrees condemning false prophets.
The apostles were commanded to preach to people living under the Law of Moses (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8).
In the Law, God clearly defined false prophets and provided instructions on how to deal with them:
“Any prophet who falsely claims to speak in my name or who speaks in the name of another god must die. But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority” (Deut. 18:20-22).
A false prophet can be defined as one who claims to be speaking for God, but makes predictions that don’t come to pass.
The penalty for this offence? Death.
In ancient Israel, capital punishment was carried out by public stoning.
God inspired many more passages expressing his utter disdain and intolerance for false prophets.
Zechariah made this chilling pronouncement:
“His own father and mother will tell him, ‘You must die, for you have prophesied lies in the name of the Lord.’ And as he prophesies, his own father and mother will stab him” (Zech. 13:3b).
Jeremiah reaffirmed the primary criterion by which a prophet must be validated:
“Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord” (Jer. 28:9b).
This verse refers to Hananiah who was killed by God for making a time-restricted prediction that failed (Jer. 28:1-17).
Ezekiel, too, condemned false prophets:
“What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all” (Ezek. 13:3).
God prescribes only sorrow and death for those who claim to speak for him, but are merely “following their own imaginations.”
Clearly, if the apostles and other New Testament authors predicted events that failed to take place on time, they should have been condemned to death.
Most did suffer martyrdom but, amazingly, the typical church doctrinal statement vindicates their executioners.
Ultimately, if the New Testament was written by false prophets, everything it says about salvation through Jesus Christ must be considered questionable if not utterly worthless.
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says…I expose the false prophets as liars…But I carry out the predictions of my prophets!” (Isa. 44:24-26).
Predictions made by God’s true prophets always come to pass, but according to most denominational faith statements, the apostles must be counted among the “liars.”
Sadly, countless theologians claim the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, but implicitly deny the Spirit’s inspiration on the men who wrote it.
The apostles were simply repeating the prophecies Jesus received from the Father (John 8:28; 14:24-26).
However, as I have pointed out in previous columns, most don’t believe Jesus either.
After almost 2,000 years of presenting Christ’s apostles to the world as a band of pitifully deluded false prophets deserving execution, it is time for all Christians to start believing inspired apostolic predictions in “the very Word of God.”
Taking this step of faith opens our eyes to understanding that the return of Christ and all related eschatological events were linked to the extraordinary tribulations of the first century.
Objection: Your suggestion the Second Coming of Christ took place in the past is ridiculous. Obviously, it has not yet occurred.
Answer: No, what should be obvious is, the vast majority of Christians have seriously misunderstood the nature of the Second Coming.
Michael Fenemore of Kamloops is the editor and co-author of
The Twilight of Postmillennialism, available at Amazon.com.
Receive updates by e-mail:
The Bible Research Update