What I Believe: Concerning Doubtful Things
The following doubtful things are things that I may not agree with, however do not see them as necessarily “fellowship-breakers” or “salvation issues”. Of course, some of these things followed to their extreme may lead to error, heresy, and apostasy, but for the most part folks adhere to some things just because that’s all they’ve ever heard.
(a) Old earth creationism, gap-theory, pre-Adamite, day-age, Theistic evolution – with the preponderance of evidence against them, I don’t know why anyone holds to these beliefs anymore. Theologically, if there was death before Adam sinned, then how could through one man (Jesus) death be defeated (Rom 5:12-17)?
(b) Moderate Calvinism – we probably don’t disagree as much as you’d think we would. If you read Scripture in context without adding in the traditions of men, then there is no real controversy.
(c) Cessation-ism – I can find no support for the doctrine of “cessation-ism”. While I do not necessarily consider this doctrine outright “heresy” or a fellowship-breaker, it sadly does practice a form of godliness but denies the power thereof and robs Christians of part of their inheritance and empowerment to carry out God’s work in their lives. Also, people robbed of true Biblical spirituality are likely to be drawn into forms of occult and new age mysticism to satisfy a desire for spirituality.
(d) Pentecostal/Charismatics – The work of the Holy Ghost has not “ceased”, however, the Holy Ghost does not contradict Himself. He does all things “decently and in order”, and He glorifies Jesus and the Father.
(e) Preterism/Amillenialism/Post-Millenial – Most of these folks think anything that doesn’t agree with them is heresy, but I’m willing to have lunch with them and discuss it.
(f) Harpatzo – Two points regarding the catching away or “rapture” we can agree on is: 1) there will be a catching away, and 2) it will happen sometime between now and when Jesus places His feet on the Mount of Olives at His second coming.
The only debate is concerning the timing, which will become clearer and more apparent the closer we get to the time. The only thing I can say for sure about timing is that it is “at the last trump” (1 Cor 15:52). Many of the details concerning end time events have been sealed up until the appropriate time, so while there is no “new” revelation, there is an increased understanding of what has been revealed the closer we get to the time of fulfillment.
The only danger is the presumption that we will escape all persecution and not be impacted by the rise of the anti-christ system. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that in this life we will have tribulation. While we will be preserved from the outpouring of God’s Wrath (1Thess 5:9), we do need to be prepared to experience and endure the wrath of the enemy and the world system against God’s children and the shaking of the world leading up to our Lord’s return. Some will be ill-prepared to endure persecution or may even depart from the faith thinking the whole bible is false because they were led to believe they would escape all persecution in the rapture.
In any case, the catching away and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ should be something we comfort one another with (1 Thess 4:18), not argue about.