Brandon E’s Objections: #10 – He Thinks I Have Ascribed Too Much Importance to “Doctrinal Particulars” and “Secondary Matters”

For an explanation of this series, of which this post is a part, see Brandon E’s Objections:  #1.

When I used to hold a more traditional evangelical view as you do, Brandon, I, too, would relegate issues like the Second Coming to a secondary tier of importance.  However, when God revealed to me that the truth that the kingdom had come, this, ipso facto, elevated the issue in importance.

Here’s how: I had been ignoring, for example, the clear thrust of the New Testament which called for the coming of the kingdom of God in that generation.  Instead, I had been leaning on traditional church teaching along the lines that you follow.  It had never occurred to me to go back and take seriously all the biblical promises about the timing and the nature of the Second Coming and study them.  I had just put them out of my mind, and explained them away when troubling questions came up.  I had just been assuming – along with the rest of the evangelical and historic Protestant church – that the Lord’s coming would be physical and bodily and therefore obviously had not taken place.  Once I saw the clarity of the Lord’s promises regarding His coming, I could no longer deny them.   (By the way, I put the results of that study I finally did on those promises in the book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?)  I realized that if these promises could not be trusted, neither could any of His other promises be trusted.

I also remembered that He told us to seek first the kingdom of God.  If the kingdom had come and I wasn’t seeking it, then I wasn’t obeying Him.  Moreover, if the kingdom of God had not come (and leaving aside for the moment the hole that would blow in the New Testament’s credibility) we should be doing the church the way it was done in the New Testament as we waited on the Lord to come.  Yet the church today is not acting like the apostolic church.  There is no one of them I could go to that would match what the apostles prescribed.  (You and I have been over this, and you never would tell me what church you go to and how closely it does or doesn’t match the one we read about in the New Testament.)

Therefore, the coming of the kingdom is directly tied to the integrity and faithfulness of the Lord.  If the kingdom has not come, then the promises were not kept, and Jesus cannot therefore be Lord of heaven and earth.  The good news is, however, that He has kept His word.  He is faithful forever.  And we can trust every single thing He says.  Oh, that we would trust Him more!

8 Replies to “Brandon E’s Objections: #10 – He Thinks I Have Ascribed Too Much Importance to “Doctrinal Particulars” and “Secondary Matters””

  1. When did I say that the Lord’s second coming is of “second-tier importance”?

    I recall saying that partial preterism or futurism, or pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib rapture would be of secondary importance compared others issues, particularly in the context that someone had just become unsure of who or what to believe anymore, if they no longer held it to be the case that it is not possible that Mike Gantt’s interpretations of Scripture–which he alone is known by us to have arrived at in combination through personal reading of Scripture–could be mistaken.

    We’ve already discussed relevant scriptural passages concerning His second coming at length, and why many people would upon the Scriptures believe that His promised second coming and the resurrection of the dead would be spiritual, bodily, and visible, and why early Christians believed this way, but Gnostics didn’t. When you say, “I had just been assuming – along with the rest of the evangelical and historic Protestant church – that the Lord’s coming would be physical and bodily and therefore obviously had not taken place,” speak for yourself, not for “the rest of the evangelical and historic Protestant church.” Many have thoroughly and prayerfully considered this matter in Scripture and come to conclusions that you contradict.

    1. “When I used to hold a more traditional evangelical view as you do, Brandon, I, too, would relegate issues like the Second Coming to a secondary tier of importance.”

      “I had just been assuming – along with the rest of the evangelical and historic Protestant church – that the Lord’s coming would be physical and bodily and therefore obviously had not taken place.”

  2. My assuming included prayer and study, too. But just as I never gave serious consideration to the idea I now proclaim, I never read in all the Second Coming literature I read (and it was not an inconsequential amount) a meaningful interaction with this idea either. As I’ve said, I didn’t get this idea from a book – it came from the Lord as a revelation of the Scripture I had previously only thought I understood.

    Have some spent more prayer and study on the subject than I have? Probably. But there are a lot of folks who have spent a lot of time and prayer on this subject which has resulted in a genuine cacophony of views. There’s not always a direct correlation between time of prayer-study and degree of understanding. Consider, for example, the apostles vis-a-vis the Pharisees.

    I don’t even think you yourself have given this idea serious consideration. Have you even read the short book (approximately 25,000 words) I provided on the subject? If you have, you didn’t comment on in the space provided there to interact with it.

    1. But there’s hardly a “genuine cacophony of views” when we compare what you claim (that the Lord’s promised second coming and the resurrection of the dead happened invisibly in full in the first century, and hence we should not expect a bodily or visible second coming or resurrection because that’s fleshly-minded) to what most groups of believers claim (large agreement that the Lord’s second coming and the bodily resurrection of the dead is future, bodily, visible, and within that general agreement more diversity on details and interpretation of specific passages).

      As for your short book, I think I’ve read a good chunk of it, and we’ve discussed many claims critical to your system at length elsewhere on your blogs.

  3. Your point is that even though a lot of people commenting on the Second Coming disagree about its various aspects, most of them agree that the Second Coming will be in the flesh, and therefore there’s more chance of them being right than of my being right. Once again you practice the belief you are unwilling to profess: truth is determined by majority vote.

    By the way, I don’t know why you recoil so at being called fleshly-minded. You believe that the Second Coming of Christ will be in the flesh rather than in the spirit. How is that not being fleshly rather than spiritual? I think your hang-up is that to most Christians “fleshly” is a pejorative term. I’m using the word more in its plain meaning; that is, without connotation.

    1. First paragraph, I was commenting on your “great cacophony” portrayal. I’m not saying that truth is determined by majority vote. If that were true, we should all think that the Roman papal hierarchy is right. I am saying that there is likely to be a good reason why many who interpret the same body of Scriptures–across various denominations that otherwise differ–would arrive largely at the same conclusions even if they differ on the details.

      Second paragraph: For the same reason that it’s not “fleshly-minded” as opposed to “spiritual” to say that Jesus came in the flesh. It’s not this dichotomy between “visible” and “visible” or “bodily” and “not-bodily” that you make it out to be, and you make it pejorative by having it that according to your construct everyone who would disagree with you is biased against or not faithful to the truth in Scriptures. Besides, Jesus isn’t coming again in the weak and corrupted flesh, as if it were a poor, negative, or anti-spiritual thing, but in His transfigured body of glory. His resurrection was spiritual and at the same time bodily, and His body was visible and tangible. Your “fleshly” versus “spiritual” is a false dichotomy between “visible” and “invisible,” (as if something were visible it must mean “fleshly”) when God’s economy is ultimately that the creation itself –the heavens and the earth, the things visible and invisible, including our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11, 23)–would be redeemed and restored and headed up in Christ. In the meantime, we live by faith, not in the temporary affairs of this life that we can see with our physical eyes presently, but fact that we do so in the present, doesn’t mean that it is “fleshly” to interpret the Lord’s second coming and resurrection of the dead as visible and bodily when they take place. Accordingly, early Christians (including the recorded testimony of the ones in closest in proximity in time and space to the apostles, and meeting in the churches they established and in which their letters were circulated) believed that the Lord’s second coming and the resurrection of the dead would be visible (and if any “spiritually-minded” ones actually thought that it had invisibly happened in full in the first century, who are they?) while it was the Gnostics and the like who held that it was fleshly to believe in a Lord who came in the flesh or in a bodily resurrection of the dead.

  4. As for the book, it sounds like you dipped into it or skimmed it but haven’t really taken its argument seriously and considered the portions you’ve read in their proper context.

    At the very least, you owe it to yourself to at least read the first part (there are three in total). Then if you disagree with the thesis, state why so there. Dueling verses spread out across various comment threads is not very edifying to readers.

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