Volume 8, Issue 4: Sharpening Iron
Hey, if youíre counting moon phases, youíll have noticed that this issue is several weeks late, maybe a month, okay? The reason is a long, rambling, ugly tale about money, prophecies, and exorcisms of Windows Ď95 (sort of like Nate Wilsonís Pictura this issue). And, hey, if you really are counting moon phases, please be sure to get some professional help somewhere. We did.
We donít have any new editors to introduceóno, reallyóbut we would like to note some new folks around here who are destined to influence twenty-first century history in significant ways. Yes, weíve been having more children. About ten months ago, Morgan Andrea was born to the Schlects, and about four months ago, Jonathan Murray Qiu Liang was born to the Nance family. Most recently, Eric Athanasius Jones burst upon the scene in my family. With a name like that, Iíve ensured that heíll either be a great theologian or a nifty professional wrestler. These births help fulfill a Credenda motto close to our hearts: if we canít persuade you, weíll outnumber you.
STARS AND BARS
There was an article recently about the Pledge of Allegiance. The article said that one nation indivisible was added after the original. I would like to get the original references for this. I would appreciate help on this.I do appreciate your hard hitting and thoughtful perspective. I attend a charismatic church where that laughing foolishness has been accepted and even encouraged. I agree with you.
The words which were added were "under God" and not "indivisible." "Under God," though, was added in the Eisenhower years.
THOUGHT YOU WERE POSTMIL
I really enjoyed reading this issue. However unless I misread the article it seems to be a shift from the Postmil position which I assume you adhere to. I, being an Amil, have always had a problem with any view that loses focus on our Savior and Lord, which is the reason I am Amil. Of all the good things in Post, the idea of not "looking for and hasten the day of the Lord" is to me very serious.
A.T. Robertson on Phil 3:20: "(apekdechometha) vividly pictures Paul's eagerness for the second coming of Christ as the normal attitude of the Christian colonist whose home is in heaven."
The possible death of the United States no more sets aside postmil eschatology than would the death of any other creature.
WHERE THE HECK IS IT?
Thanks for publishing a magazine that I truly look forward to reading each time it arrives. I appreciate the concise, yet thought-provoking content and the manageable format.
I have a question for Roy Atwood, that goes back to Vol. 7, No. 4.... Mr. Atwood states, "In Genesis 9, God repeated the creation mandate to subdue the earth...." Like Mr. Atwood, I find that command given in Genesis 1:28. However, it seems to me to be conspicuous in Genesis 9, mostly because of its absence. Would Roy please help me to understand his view more clearly? Thanks in advance for your insights.
Roy Atwood replies:
The repetition of the creation mandate in Gen. 9:1-3 does not use the term "subdue," as you correctly point out, but it repeats the same covenantal blessing that all creatures will "fear and dread" mankind because God has "given them all into [y]our hands" (vs. 2). Thus, the original command to "subdue" is both assumed and affirmed in the text, while the command to "fill and replenish the earth" is repeated explicitly no doubt because God had just "emptied" the earth of His rebellious creatures by the flood. Thanks for holding my words to the flame of the Text.
I have enjoyed many issues of your magazine to date, but the Dominionist/Postmillennialist teachings of Jack Van Deventer begin to wear on my nerves. My spirit cringes every time I read his articles.
I have just finished a book called The Road to Holocaust by Hal Lindsey, one of those labeled a "prophetic charlatan" by Mr. VanDeventer. It's always easy to discredit those who disagree with your views by labeling them.
Mr. Lindsey's book is a real eye-opener which methodically dismantles the teachings of Do-minionists/Postmils like Mr. Van Deventer and others. Talk about a lack of scholarly eschatologythe postmil movement is full of it....
The Road to Holocaust is full of examples of the shaky theology that Dominionism is based on. I'm concerned that many are being led to believe a falsehood. The Dominionists' method of interpreting prophecy makes it look like such a maze of allegory and symbolism that the average lay-person could never hope to figure it out by reading the Bible himself. They must rely on a select few to interpret for them. Back to the Middle Ages.
I hope you print this letter so your readers might have the opportunity to read Mr. Lindsey's book and see what he has to say. Do you trust the common folk to read such controversial material and discern the truth for themselves? Can Dominionism bear the scrutiny?
Park Rapids, MN
Jack Van Deventer replies:
First, not all postmillennialists are "dominionists" in your sense. Second, Hal Lindsey says postmillennialists "rejected much of the Scripture as being literal," believe in "the inherent goodness of man," and expect to bring "about the Kingdom of God on earth through their own efforts." Thus, The Road to Holocaust is written to warn the unsuspecting that postmillennialism is "the philosophical basis for anti-Semitism [which] infects the Church...."
Despite Mr. Lindsey's caricatures, let me assure you that postmillennialists hold to historical-grammatical exegesis, not allegoricalism, while Mr.Lindsey himself is far from being a literalist (e.g., his locusts=helicopters; seven-headed beast =one human). His type of exegesis really does require an elitist approach. Postmillennialists also believe in the total depravity of man (Rom. 3:10), reject humanism (Is. 64:6), abhor racism of all kinds (Gal. 3:28), and believe that dominion belongs to Christ alone (1 Pet. 4:11).
If scholarship and scrutiny are important, be advised that The Road to Holocaust duplicates House and Ice's Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? word-for-word in sections without giving credit, contains numerous Greek, historical, and logical errors, all in the course of comparing postmillennialists to Nazis. Like you, I am concerned about those being led to believe a falsehood.
JUSTIFIABLE READER CRUELTY
Thoughtful Christian journals that both enlighten the mind and warm the heart, with the truth of Christianity are few and far between these days, if you ever come up with one, please put me on your mailing list. Just kidding, Credenda is all that and more.
MUSIC REPRESENTS GOD
While visiting a friend a couple of weeks ago, I happened upon a copy of Credenda/Agenda and, more specifically, Douglas Jones's article "Beautiful Meaninglessness" in which Jones argued that there is nothing that beautiful music "represents". . . . But really? Jones should have inquired where the beauty of music comes from. If we conclude that all beauty comes from God, in the same way that all goodness comes from God, then when a composer creates something beautiful, he iswhether he is aware of it or notexpressing a facet of God's character. Beautiful music represents God's nature just like a good action represents God's nature . . . . A beautiful piece of music does not mean nothing, as Jones argued, but everything.
Douglas Jones replies:
I quite agree with you that music can express and reflect God's character gloriously, but something can express without "representing" in the way words and pictures do. We have no meaning-rules everyone can use to interpret, say, a Mozart instrumental piece or a flower and discover what it "represents."
Someone in the office passed me a copy of an article that Mr. Jones wrote concering sola Scriptura, arguing that we on the Protestant side had really messed up on this and "should be ashamed of" ourselves for advancing the anabaptist view. That is a remarkable insight that no one else has observed concerning the debate, probably because I specifically distinguished the Reformation and anabaptistic views of this doctrine. Mr. Jones may feel that this was not done sufficiently, but the article implies that it was not done at all and this is quite irresponsible. Although it is quite possible that men who have been trained in historical theology in general and Reformation history and theology in particular could have made some mistakes, to suggest that the likes of Robert Godfrey could have defended the anabaptist position on Scripture without even knowing it is a rather arrogant assumption, don't you think? It is unfortunate that groups that should be working together at such a time as this cannot seem to figure out when it's time to engage in friendly disputation and when it is time to make sweeping judgments that do not even adequately reflect the actual material that was presented. I suggest that Mr. Jones listen to the sola Scriptura presentation again, especially where I explicitly distance the Reformation view from the anabaptist position for its rejection of tradition. With as much good work as Credenda/Agenda is doing these days, why should we attack each other unnecessarily?
Douglas Jones replies:
Constructive criticism need not always be read as red-eyed "attacks." We greatly appreciate C.U.R.E.'s efforts and have every intention of continuing to work together as allies with you in the cause of reformation. But the fact remains that in your debate, the Protestants said much about sufficiency and little, if anything, about normativity, which is the defining feature of sola Scriptura. Despite some late qualifiers which weren't used to mold the general case, the structure of the arguments, responses, and questions focused on pure sufficiency. Such a "stand-alone" sufficiency of Scripture is the primary concern of anabaptists; in the classical Protestant case, sufficiency is a downstream consequence of the ultimate normativity of Scripture. Moreover, in the debate, the Protestants spoke of "appreciating" the creeds and "consulting" the ecclesiastical community, but that is a far cry from genuine church authority, as defended by the early Protestants.
Are you sure you quoted John Fogerty correctly on the back of the magazine? I thought it was:
Waaalll, don't go `round
It's bound to take yore lye-eef
Theeerrree's a bathroom on the right.
Kansas City, KS