Archive for the ‘Future Things’ category

Risen Saints Mingling With Men of Flesh and Blood

August 3, 2012

I have been thinking about posting the quote below for a couple years now and it finally seems that the time is right. Anyone who regularly reads this blog is probably aware that I am a dispensational premillennialist (I believe that Christ and resurrected believers will reign on earth for 1,000 years some day). Because of this I have gotten into some interesting conversations over the past five years. One of those conversations was with another Christian who holds to an amillennial view of the future (he believes that Christ will not literally reign here on earth). Probably the biggest problem he had with premillennialism was he felt, for lack of a better word, there is something unnatural with both resurrected and mortal (non-resurrected) human beings living on earth at the same time.

I suppose it depends a lot on what you believe it means to be human. To me if you are born human then you are always human whether you are in a resurrection body or not. I never have understood what the problem is. A few weeks after our conversation I found the quote below which defends the idea that “risen saints mingling with men of flesh and blood” is not creepy. If the topic ever comes up again all I have to do now is link to this article and let Dr. McClain do the talking for me.

From “The Greatness of the Kingdom” by Alva J. McClain:

One thing in this connection that seems to disturb some theologians is the thought of a kingdom in which the glorified Christ with His risen saints mingling with men of flesh and blood on the earth. To illustrate this point, I quote from Berkhof’s final paragraph in his book on The Kingdom of God. The author first states the premillennial view as follows: “Jesus Christ, the glorified Lord, will be seated upon the throne at Jerusalem. And risen and immortal saints will reign with him ‘the thousand years.’ And besides these there will also be men in the flesh, both of the Jewish and of other nations, some converted and others unconverted. They will all share in the glory of the Kingdom, and all enjoy the open vision of Jesus Christ.” Then with considerable indignation Berkhof exclaims, “With Brown we too would call out, ‘What a mongrel state of things is this! What an abhorred mixture of things totally inconsistent with each other.’ This representation is not warranted by scripture and grates upon our Christian sensibility. Beet truly says: ‘We cannot conceive mingled together on the same planet some who have yet to die and others who have passed through death and will die no more. Such confusion of the present age with the age to come is in the last degree unlikely’” (p. 176). (more…)


Heaven by Randy Alcorn

July 11, 2012

I am currently reading the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn and I am really enjoying it. The subject of Heaven caught Mr. Alcorn’s interest many years ago and he has proceeded to collect every book on the subject he can find. In fact he claims that he now owns at least 150 books on Heaven many of them being old and out of print. The premise of “Heaven” is that the Bible has a lot more to say about Heaven than most Christians have been led to believe and it has nothing to do with us “sitting on clouds playing harps” for eternity. This has caused Mr. Alcorn so much consternation that he is out to set the record straight. The book is interesting and I would recommend it with a few caveats.

The first caveat is that Mr. Alcorn’s Gospel presentation borders on Lordship Salvation which I strongly disagree with. Here are two paragraphs that are part of that presentation:

Because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities…. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12).

Forgiveness is not automatic. If we want to be forgiven, we must recognize and repent of our sins: “He who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Forgiveness is established by our confession: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

p 34

We are “freely offered” forgiveness but forgiveness “is not automatic?” Does salvation come through faith alone in Christ alone or through faith plus repentance? The repentance he is speaking of in these paragraphs doesn’t appear to equate to faith so it does seem that he is adding to faith. Also, I don’t believe that the passages he lists have anything to do with salvation from eternity in the Lake of Fire. Suffice it to say that I would be reluctant to give this book to an unbelieving friend without some other Gospel material accompanying it.

[UPDATE: To get a taste of how this kind of view of repentance can sow doubt in the mind of believers please follow the link and read “From Salvation to Doubt and Fear, Then Back to Biblical Assurance.”]

Mr. Alcorn provides many short quotes by different theologians almost all of whom are Calvinist in theology. There are definite differences between his theology of Heaven and what I have been taught. This doesn’t mean that I think there is no value in the book but it makes me careful not to accept all that he says too quickly. For instance here is a quote from “Heaven” regarding the interpretation of Luke 16:19-31 (the rich man and Lazarus) which seems to cause him some concern: (more…)

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