Rex and Mark discuss the scope and influence of dispensational theology in traditional evangelical thought.
Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host Mark Moore, and your co host Rex Gurney. Yeah. Rex, on today’s show, we’re gonna be talking about a theological category of dispensationalism. Those words bring music to my ears. Yeah. The way I grew up, yeah, so And what’s interesting in what we’re going to be really highlighting is maybe the influence that dispensationalism had, particularly on evangelical theology in the 20th century, and not just
theology and in our politics, actually, in writing pop culture in some of the things we consume, it’s it has, its had a much wider reach than we assume.
It really has. And so even if you’re as listener unfamiliar with dispensationalism, as we talk, you might begin to recognize the theories. So, so we hope you maybe have a little bit of education in this episode, and a little bit of insight, and we hope you enjoy the show.
All right, Rex, we’re talking about dispensationalism. So, yeah, there’s there’s a lot of a lot of maybe different ways to approach it. And maybe for some of our listeners right away. They might be thinking, Okay, wait, timeout, step back a little what is dispensationalism? Because it was really kind of this phenomenon in theology, from the 19th century into the 20th century. Right. And, and it really did have a lasting impact on particularly North America and North American evangelicals. That’s Jan, and even if four people may be in a church, and they don’t explicitly use the word dispensational theology, but as we start to explain it, lightbulbs might start going off of like, Oh, that’s what we are taught at church or
happened to a few of my students, sometimes I’ll put a dispensationalist chart and we might be talking about charts, actually, yeah, that gives you a clue as to what we’re talking about. And I’ll put them on the PowerPoint and to look at and it’s like, I have no idea what that is. And then I start explaining and it’s like, oh, I’ve never seen that chart. But that’s kind of behind the preaching in the church that I grew up in. It’s like, yeah, now you have a name for it.
Yeah. And so we want to kind of just explore that maybe kind of the hidden influence of dispensational thought, and and his lasting impact on like you said, in kind of an intro is lasting impact not just on theology, but on politics and pop culture and, and, and so on, even like maybe, let’s say book series that have come out in the in the 2000s.
Yeah, I think we know who we’re thinking, yeah, I know that one of the best selling books of the 1970s in any way that you calculate bestsellers, actually kind of didn’t make the New York Times bestseller list sometimes because they had sort of ghettoize Christian bookstores and yeah, there were different categories, different category, but there was a book that was dispensationalist that outsold, I think everything but the Bible during the 1970s Wow, some of our listeners might be searching their brains to figure out what that is. We’ll leave that to be a secret right now. And oh, yeah. I think a little light bulb will come on on our on our Yeah.
Listeners later on. Yeah, maybe it’s like a trivia that later, though, right? Yeah. Well, for for our listeners, Rex, who maybe don’t know what dispensational is by name. Let’s let’s have them now. How would we describe dispensational theology?
Well, dispensationalism is is sort of a subset of a Christian eschatological position. And some of you are probably familiar with post millennialism. In our millennialism, I’ve never quite figured out all millennialism. Right, and premillennialism. And of course, growing up Baptists, we always said we were Pan millennialist. It’ll just all pan out at the end. There’s about all this stuff. No, I actually really believe that, because I think we were all dispensationalists anyway, right? But dispensationalism is a version of premillennialism. And sometimes it helps to make a distinction between historical premillennialism and dispensationalist. Peru malayalis. Yeah, basically, you know, near the end of the 20th century, the assumption was everyone who is a pre millennialist would be a dispensationalist. But actually premillennialism has been a Christian eschatological position for almost 2000 years. And yeah, I guess calls to 18 150. years before something called dispensationalism actually came down the theological pike. Right. It hasn’t always been around its roots caps have. But as a as a theological and eschatological position. It’s not that old. Really. Right. Yeah. And by premillennial, we’re talking about that the church will be, will be raptured and taken into the kingdom. Before the millennial reign Exactly. Jesus comes back to sort of ushered the church out before the millennial reign, and different varieties of dispensationalists. You know, there’ll be pre trip and post trip and mid trip. And yeah, there are endless variations and iterations of how one can make that dispositional chart, which is good for book publishing. It’s really good for bookbub. Right, right, definitely. And because it actually ties in so much to current events, at least in many people’s minds, then whenever something happens internationally, or nationally, you can always write into the book and write in the dispensational framework, which makes the whole phenomenon really both interesting and self perpetuating at the same time.
Right. Right. Yeah. And we’ll we can, I think we’ll get there to talk about that, especially of the, the way, it turned eschatology or study the End Times. Right, so this eschatological view and started connecting current events that were happening, and really, you know, started connecting specific dots and naming names, right. My name, naming names, and, and particularly in the book that we referenced from the 70s. And while we can highlight that, but But even as we we get further into it, so it’s this this eschatological view that is very focused on premillennialism. So focus that Jesus is going to come back and and assure the church right or rapture the church, before a literal millennial reign to so many times, it’s a focus on a literal millennial reign. And it was kind of first started by a guy named john Nelson Darby. Yeah, yeah. So his brother, and then a good kind of Anglo Irish preacher, but then a priest and then kind of renounced that, and a sense to be part of the Plymouth, you know, to begin the Plymouth brethren and, in many ways, kind of this independent, you know, segment of the church. And with this theology he created, he kind of divided the history of God’s interaction with the world into seven dispensations,
right? And sometimes this will say shilshole will name those dispensations a little bit differently and yeah, so those charts can vary but but they will have a similarity that this is different periods of time in in the world’s history and I guess salvation history which ends up being collapsed into one thing Yeah, in the way that God has related to first of all, all humanity then his chosen people Israel, and then sort of new Israel or adopted Israel yeah Church Age later on and and even within that there’s there’s variations but that’s that’s a general the general gist of a god relates to humanity through different dispensations different covenants. Yeah, and you can name those covenants, different ways. And you can find, you can find that explicitly stated, according to dispensationalist, in a close reading of the Old Testament, particularly.
Yeah, and we kind of see some of those names you know, they’ve they’ve divided them or are labeled them this way. First, age is Age of Innocence, right or innocency. So you the era of Adam and Eve ride garden, before the before the fall so innocent, and then moving into conscience, sometimes I’ve seen that and labeled that which is kind of that arrow from the fall to Noah. And then the third one is civil government. I’ve seen it labeled that way, which is no a to Abraham. And, and then with Abraham, we kind of start the the patriarchy, you know, role. Sometimes it’s called the promise as well, sometimes that dispensation, and that’s Abraham to Moses. So you get the call of Abraham, to, to then the law of Moses. So that fifth dispensation is the Age of the Law of the law. And that’s Moses to Jesus. And then the sixth dispensation which we would be in currently is the church age or also called the Age of Grace.
Although there there are various spins on on why there is even a church age actually depending on how one spins Who Jesus originally was sent to basically, right and how that kind of played out. We are either a parenthesis, or a plan B or part of the plan all along depending on how sensationalist you talk to.
Yeah. And then it really focuses in that seventh one is the millennial reign, right? That will be the seventh dispensation. And so the church age or the Age of Grace that we are in, is from Christ to, to the return of Christ. Right. So and so that’s why within I think dispensation, there’s such a focus on the return of Christ, because that’s going to mark the ending of this, of this dispensation and
what has to happen as a prelude to the return of Christ. And Roberts, the two biblical books that are indispensable in ferreting this out are revelation as you would expect. And Daniel in the old Yeah. And you put revelation and Daniel together, it does have the key that unlocks what people will call the End Times.
Yeah. And so for you, Rex, how did you see maybe dispensational thought, influence what you were taught, maybe as a child, and then even as you were pastoring in different Baptist churches, and
well, I was not conscious of it. Actually, as a child. I grew up in a fundamentalist church, but we never didn’t know we were fundamentalists, I guess. Yeah, but looking back on it, we certainly were. Yeah. I definitely ran into it. Not just in my theological education, but I really ran into it in in the ministry, in the denomination that I was pastoring. In. And in some folks in, in in my church. So my first church is a Baptist Church. It’s in Oakland, California. Some of you may know that Baptist churches have traditionally had adult Sunday school, it wasn’t just kids that went to Sunday school around Sunday school class. In fact, often it was not uncommon to have more people in Sunday school than actually for the preaching service. Because yes, I school, go home, it was really interesting phenomenon when I was going out, but it’s my first Sunday, there, I’m on the job. I’ve already accepted. We’ve already moved there, we’ve already committed and I’m wandering around the church. And I go to an adult sized school class because I’m, you know, I ended up teaching various years. But when I first got there, so I sit in the back. And suddenly the teacher who happened to be a deacon of the church, and on the pulpit committee, I had no idea about what was coming. Yeah, stops the class. When I come in. I thought it was like, Well, here’s the new password. Right? Not what happened. Yeah, no interaction, no introduction, he stopped the class, he looks at me. And he says, I’m a dispensationalist. And this class is taught through the lens of dispensationalism, everything I teach, and if it wasn’t for dispensationalism, I would not be a Christian. that’s a that’s a, you know, pretty powerful thing to toss on the family of a pastor. And yeah, you know, what he meant was that dispensationalism to him was the key to interpreting and he had quite a following in the church, actually, yeah, no, that at that time, but he that was the key to interpreting the Bible. And it’s interesting stuff. If you’re, if you know, once you start down that road, it really is fascinating, right, and has, you know, endless iterations. And it’s very logical. Once one accepts that logic, is also very methodical, and the pieces do fit together. And it involves a lot of prophecy. And it is a way of having the Bible make complete, not just sense, but it strings, the story together, the past and the future in a way that is very, is very neat and clean in a lot of ways. Yeah. And what he meant by if it wasn’t for dispensationalism, I would not be a Christian, I sort of found out later. So this guy was an accountant at a big accounting firm in San Francisco. And as soon as I put two and two together, it was like I can understand, and I can see why that would really appeal to him that way of interpreting. Yeah, because it’s all numbers. It’s numbers. Right. Right. And it’s fascinating, and it doesn’t make sense. It does make sense if one accepts the premise behind it.
Yeah. And that seems to be maybe one of the positives of it. And maybe the reason why it did have such a hold on theology, especially evangelical theology for for a lot of the 19th and 20th century.
Well, it was a prime player in the fundamentalist modernist controversy. Yeah, cuz people looked at dispensationalism, which hinges on an inerrant interpretation of Scripture itself. ranges on that, right? It doesn’t work unless everything is. And we’ve talked about this before, Mark, everything is literally true, but you don’t take it literally, which is really missing. Right? Look at it. But yeah, I’m still very, very high view of biblical authority. And when you are combating, you know, higher criticism and all this German liberal theology or whatever, right, this proved to be a very useful and powerful sort of tool in the conservative Arsenal against the corrosive impact of higher criticism. So it really, it really did help in the minds of some people to save the Bible from its attacks by liberal and higher criticism.
Yeah, and in many ways, it was it was kind of saving the Bible by maybe showing some type of logic in the Bible, or reason in the Bible that, hey, this is a logical connection, from the time of Adam and Eve, going through these different areas and different dispensations. And and I like how you’re kind of highlighting Rex, I think this is important for us to grasp on dispensational theology is that it definitely hinges in his stresses an inaccurate view of Scripture, right? along with a fairly, what would be called literal, you know, interpretation of Scripture. But right, like, we’ve like we said, Yeah, literal does not always mean literal. But but a very, a very, let’s say, straightforward, right? interpretation of Scripture,
the, the prophecy is a literal prophecy about real things that either are or will happen in the world. And so, you know, in that way it is it is very literal, if literal means, I guess, real or empirically verifiable, right. Yeah, this is this is also a very useful tool against Darwinism, and all sorts of things. There’s a lot of reasons why this became popular, and understandable reasons. understandable reasons.
Yeah. And it does seem to like you’re saying hinge on a view of the end times, you know, which, which is interesting, because it doesn’t necessarily, it wouldn’t necessarily have to only focus on that, you know, because I mean, I, I could see, like, yeah, splitting up how God has interacted throughout the world, but it definitely, and I think part of that is because of that was a major theme in evangelical thought in the 19th and 20th century, the return of Christ,
right, there was this movement into prophecy conferences and things like yeah, which, which totally proved fertile ground for this type of this type of theology.
Definitely, and, and there was, and there was just this, in many ways, an obsession, maybe with what is gonna happen at the end?
Especially, right, you know, in the 50s, and 60s, you know, during the Cold War, there’s a lot of people have a lot of anxiety about nuclear annihilation. And, yeah, and it does look like you know, for the first time, when you say that, you know, the world could end or be destroyed in fire or so yeah, that, that there was a literal image that was not outside the realm of possibility of the whole world, this happening to, right, starting in the 50s. And, and what’s interesting is, is that, you know, the viewer has been around for a while, although I have met dispensationalists that will basically say, you know, every real question for the past 2000 years has always been a dispensationalist. Yeah, that’s the danger of actually studying church history, because you understand that that’s not the case. Right, that there are a lot of people were pre millennials, that is true, but there were historical premillennialists that that weren’t, didn’t slice it quite the way some dispensationalists do. Yeah. But with all the with all the stuff happening in the world, you know, the United Nations, the European community, the Soviet Union in its fall. The United States, basically, you know, whether we are not a new Israel, there’s just all sorts of things that can fit into this that make it very interesting for everyone and very attractive for people that do believe that this is the Bible is teaching this about the future. What’s interesting about that, though, is that sometimes that seems to be all the Bible’s teaching. We write certain iterations of dispensationalism. So yeah, it was just a book of prophecy and not a book of whatever.
Yeah. Yeah. And that seems to be the dangers when the when the focus gets solely put on the end times and fulfillment of that prophecy. And and in particularly trying to understand a literal I’m understanding of that prophecy and starting to put names to it, then that sometimes then the target moves. But yeah, can and it can kind of create this feeling that that’s the only thing the Bible is about is trying to figure out when Jesus is going to return. And and I think I think maybe we’re at a good place where you can, or we can reveal the name of
that during that I was going to say, but I was going to try to figure out its initials first CL Gp who did the L GP? Yeah. His name was how Lindsey Yeah. late, great planet Earth. And it’s sold buku copies. I remember reading it because everybody read it. Right. At the end of the 70s. I think he had to, like, revise it some, the issue about it is that it sold so many millions of copies. And it was, you know, almost as important as scripture in the minds of some people I used to know. But hardly any of the specifics actually ever happened in it. Right. And so it had to be revised and right, that that tends to be something that does happen in dispensationalists literature. Yeah. And you will see, I mean, just go into I was perusing a Christian as what publishing house, whatever, newsletter or CBD yesterday, and just looking into slike, you know, another slew of books, you know, especially with things that have happened here in the united states currently, and things that are happening, our world currently being published, and many of them do see what’s happening now through a dispensationalist lens, as well. Yeah, it makes great movies doesn’t mark right. It does. Yeah,
makes good books and movies. And maybe Kirk Cameron via Nick Cage, Nick as well.
Although apparently Nick Cage didn’t even know it had anything to do with like, just a bunch of explosions and a paycheck. Yeah, exactly.
It was an airplane airplay on air explosions. I’m there I’m in. But I think one of the things that this highlights for me is, and we’ve talked about this on other episodes, but it’s just the perhaps the danger in terms of eschatology, the danger of viewing it or interpreting it through your national lens. And so yeah, I think it is interesting that for North American and particularly American evangelicals, in the mid 20th century, in dispensationalism, it was always interpreted as, as America holding that place of like, a new Israel or, or the good place. And, and in how Lindsay’s book in the first regression, it was the Soviet Union, that was the enemy, and then it fell. So then it had to kind of transition to Russia. Right, Jen, maybe transition to the European Union. And, and that has been the, in many ways, the danger of then trying to, particularly and this is what’s interesting, right interesting about literal interpretation of Scripture, right? Because you’re trying to then interpret the prophecy. And prophecy is not geared to a literal interpretation, because even the literal interpretation would be that Babylon would rise again. Right? Like that would be the literal interpretation that that Babylon, back rather on. So there you go, yeah, that that rather that. Babylon is, is maybe this code word for, for, you know, an earthly power that represents that represents the all of the bad of earthly power. And, and perhaps, that’s kind of, for me, what dispensational is does is it brings that the how we approach scripture, how we interpret scripture, it brings it to the forefront of how we can have that discussion and maybe knowing that there are, there are many ways in different ways that we can approach scripture and interpret, while also maintaining a very high view of Scripture and scripture, as the Word of God and as you know, as the error free Word of God to write the inspired Word of God. And sometimes the biblical literalism actually works against maybe the genres in Scripture, and now they are meant to be interpreted.
Right. Well, one interesting thing about that I found in my discussion with some folks that held to certain strains of dispensationalism, and I think it’s very careful for our listeners. And I had to continue to remind myself of this too, that, you know, we shouldn’t tar all dispensationalists with one brush just because there’s a facet of it that right, right doesn’t fit, you know, our particular theological positions or predilections. But one, one place where I at least got off of one particular dispensation was bus was actually with that same person I was talking about earlier in the Sunday school class. This was a few years later, I found out that he believed as some dispensational, still that Jesus was actually sent to redeem the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So Jesus was sent to, and when the when the lost sheep of the house of Israel rejected Jesus, then the mission expanded out to the Gentiles and initiated the church age, which makes it really interesting that the Church Age is sort of something that that I guess God knew was going to happen, but wasn’t supposed to happen. Right? Yeah. But maybe wouldn’t have happened if Jesus had been rejected, which, which is an interesting position. But for this for this individual. And I know he was not the only one. The the key to interpreting for example, what’s going on in Matthew or when the Church Age begins, is to try to figure out when exactly in Jesus’s earthly ministry that the Jews of first century Palestine rejected his message, right? Because everything that’s before that rejection is actually not for the church is for the Jewish people. Yeah, doesn’t really apply to us everything. Yeah. After that. So where he actually made the cutoff point was after the Sermon on the Mount, and so he would teach his sermon on the mount was not for Christians and did not apply to Christians. Wow. And I know, wow, I was thinking, well, that’s actually, you know, I think the Sermon on the Mount had some really hard sayings and Yeah, exactly. get you off. The bar really, really high. And now I have an added, it’s not for me. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t have to do that. And I mean, honestly, I think the Sermon on the Mount is is key to Jesus’s charisma. And so I’m not willing to just jettison that is not applicable, right to my life or the life of the Christian community. Not all dispensationalists will do that. But I have run into some that will.
Yeah. And I think even there’s, there’s other clarifications to on trying to figure that when the Church Age begins. And I know, I’ve heard I mean, there’s sex of dispensationalism that are mid acts. So it’s not till the midway through the book of Acts that the Church Age begins, because the very beginning of the church is still very Jewish and Israel oriented. And so maybe not till it makes that full transition into the Gentile church. And what’s what’s very interesting about a dispensationalist
reading of history is that if it is true for whatever reason that the eschatological clock stopped, when the Jews rejected Jesus, which some iterations of dispensationalism will say, yeah, then when does the eschatological clock start? Again? When do you kind of are at the end of the church age and starting to get closer to the end times? Basically, right? Yeah. And, and, and that’s very important for those of us that that certainly would not want to be left behind. Right. So for those who don’t know, the whole left behind series of movies and books is thoroughly dispensationalist. Yeah, it relies on a dispensational framework, just for the narrative of the books. But so the Jews might have rejected Jesus, but then something happened after World War Two. In 1947 1948, when, you know, with the United Nations resolutions, suddenly there is for the first time in 2000 years, yeah, actual, you know, feet on the ground state of Israel. And for some dispensationalist that means that the eschatological clock started ticking again. So the end time, so basically, we’re in them, and they started when the nation of Israel, yeah, became a nation again, which of course, makes what happens with the nation of Israel, of extreme importance of to dispensationalist and to many of us that have been influenced by dispensationalism there’s a real reason for that because Israel, what happens there plays a major role in in the in times of Jesus coming back and the Millennium and then, you know, hopefully the new heavens and the new earth and so that’s all good stuff. Yeah, you know, stuff we would look forward to. So yeah, good for everyone in the end, so right. So we are very, very interested in Israel. Yeah. And sometimes it seems like the only friends that Israel has in the whole world are American evangelicals. It sometimes seems that way. Yeah. And and there are, that’s not the only reason to support Israel. And I personally believe we should support the right of Israel to exist. So Right, right. Oh, yeah. no issue with that at all. Yeah, but but it’s important. It’s hyper important to some events. Yeah. So I was I’m at a mega church in the Bay Area. And I was there to see some Christian concert. I forget what it was. And this is a long time ago, so I won’t even name who Yeah, if I remember. Right. And I was there alone out of my wife couldn’t go with me or something. And nobody else wanted to go, whatever. Anyway, I went by myself. And right before the musicians came on, the pastor of the church that they were having the concert in, called up a young woman who was the daughter of the mayor of Jerusalem. At that time, I think his name is Teddy Kollek analysis daughter. Yeah. And she was making a tour of major evangelical churches all around the United States giving greetings. And of course he was because right, that was probably the most effective use of her time. And yeah, and getting goodwill for what’s happening in Jerusalem. She was going to American evangelical mega churches. Yeah, she was giving greetings from the mayor of Jerusalem, because that’s music to our ears.
Right. And and that, yeah, that kind of helps us understand maybe why the focus. There’s such a focus on the nation of Israel, particularly in evangelicalism, right is this connection through dispensational thought, but that connection to the end times and connection to the fulfillment of prophecy, connection to a Third Temple being built? Right. And
apparently, did you know that actually, I think it’s under Temple Mount, they have everything ready. So that’s ready at the snap of a finger, they can put that baby together in like five minutes. Yeah, I understand.
And, and I think one of the things yeah, and one of the things with that is that it is definitely influenced, like you were saying political, political parties, political understanding of Israel, and I’ve always, often look back because I agree with you, too, right? I mean, 100% support, Oh, right. Israel as a nation, and the support. But as you look back through the Old Testament, right, that doesn’t mean everything that Israel did as a nation, was glorifying to God. Right. So I mean, it is this balance where Israel as a nation, still has the ability to not do maybe what God wants them to do,
right? Actually, no dispensationalism has even there’s an explanatory power in either dispensationalism itself, or it’s sort of being the background noise behind some some positions and some views. And yes, dispensational premillennialism is a very pessimistic worldview. You understand? post modernism is a very optimistic worldview, right? Yeah, I was gonna get better and better and better and better, and Christians are actually going to have a huge part in that. And yeah, it just comes back to sort of give his stamp of approval at the top. Right. Right. And you know, that that’s, that’s one eschatological position, right. But of course, with premillennial, dispensationalism, for this whole thing to work, and you have seen the movies, yeah, things are gonna get worse and worse, gets worse and worse. And there’s, there’s actually nothing that we can do or even should do really try to interrupt that process. Yeah. And that, that that would mean that you would want to support political positions that you feel would be the best positions to have in a world that’s going to hell in a handbasket. Yeah. And, and right, once again, they’re certainly reasons to all over the place to support these these policies. But yeah, it is. That is one of them. That is your reason. And I think that’s behind some of it. Even if it’s not conscious. I think that’s behind some of it.
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And I think that Yeah, at some white balls might be going off aleko Yeah, that you mean just even understanding that this is the view contingent on things getting worse and worse, right and and how that would then influence maybe how we interact in the world in terms of trying to make things better or our social interaction things like that policies. I think for me, and maybe as we kind of, as we kind of wrap up this discussion and we again, we hope that today was kind of this episode was educational. Maybe you know, I learned a little on on dispensationalism learned how It is influenced and still has a lasting influence on especially evangelical theology and policy. I think one of the most interesting things and and one of the things that, for me is a place of caution is within the church how dispensational thought, especially a strong premillennial view of the rapture, has has put a stress on Christians leaving the world and going to heaven. Right? So is this view of us leaving and going, rather than a stress on Jesus? Bringing the kingdom here, right. So the idea and so there’s been kind of this escapism, almost right, like things are getting worse. And so God will you escape us from this. And it seems like in Scripture, that there’s this, there’s this, another view could be add of Jesus bringing the kingdom to Earth, right and bringing, and as maybe things get worse, and that is that rather than us in the stress of us just getting out of here and go into heaven, but rather, being able to be with Christ in His Kingdom as it invades Earth, right. So there’s so
one of my favorite pieces of dispensational artwork is a pitcher that and I know this is gonna elicit some light bulbs going on at some of our listeners. Yeah, I don’t think it can. Those of us who grew up in a certain time in a certain evangelical subculture will recognize this. I remember seeing pictures of Jesus coming back. And and of course, it was over Dallas, Texas, because where else would Jesus come back to Dallas, Texas, there’s the Dallas, Texas skyline. And there’s a freeway going downtown, and there’s airline, there’s airplanes smashing into buildings, there’s car wrecks, all over the freeway. Everybody’s being raptured, up out of the cars. Yeah. And so, I mean, literally, Christians are being raptured. And everyone else is being killed in airplane crashes, right, our wrecks, and yeah, I didn’t even miss a beat even thinking about that seeing this artwork when I was crying. It’s like, well, that’s just sort of the way it’s gonna be. Yeah, yeah. Hope I’m in that group going up. I wish we’d all been ready. Life was no, because you remember those old sayings, right? Yeah. And yeah, and I look at that now. And it’s like, well, you know, you can actually believe, you know, in, in, in, you know, the rapture and yeah, not have to have this particular view of sort of, I don’t know, it being a zero sum game. Right. Right. Was Yeah, yeah. You know, little disturbing to me not looking at that picture. Yeah, what’s behind it,
right. Cuz you It feels like, like, when you look at the book of Revelation. The the overall purpose of the book of Revelation was to inspire hope, and have a good ending, right ending folks is is hope and and Yeah, and I think that’s there just seems to be sometimes within evangelical eschatology, those that have been influenced by the by different strands of dispensationalism. misses that hope aspect, like there just wasn’t that stress of hope. Yeah. Like when I was when I was a kid, it was, the End Times was the thing of fear. For me. I was like, I want to be ready. There were times you know, my parents didn’t come home. And it came home late from something and I was like, it’s happened. I missed the Rapture. I knew it was at least knew my brother was gonna miss the Rapture. But then I was I was a little surprised. I was still there. But there was there was fear. And I think what I missed is men. How can we bring in because yeah, it’s I mean, end of the world world will not just be hunky dory. Right. But how do we understand that eschatological hope that scripture is, is giving us right that john in the book of Revelation, and even in Daniel, this, it’s actually a hope that despite everything being bad, despite world powers, exerting their power, all over the place that God’s kingdom is going to last it God’s kingdom is going to win election ends
with an invitation? Yeah, doesn’t it? Yeah. Condon. Yeah. Yeah. Come in. Right. Who wants to drink the water of life? Really? Yeah. That’s, that’s a very hopeful thing. I want to be there. Yeah. I want to be there very much.
Yeah, definitely. And so how we have today kind of, you know, gave you a little bit education made you think about Oh, yeah. What are some of those dreams? Maybe I grew up I grew up in the evangelical community. Yeah. What are some things that I could maybe point back to dispensationalism or even, you know, just the the popularity of the left behind? theories and and how that influences our theology and and then I think Yeah, ending on that idea of I think anytime we talk about eschatology, we need to we need to elevate the idea of hope. And we need to elevate that idea as much as any of the other ideas we elevate out Molly’s want to get them back to in the purpose in Scripture. And even the purpose of many of these prophecies was to to give hope to the church right to give hope, that that God’s kingdom is going to win that God’s kingdom will be established. God’s kingdom will rain.
Rubbish is not a pessimistic book. Yeah, it’s really nice into one by some folks, but it is it is yeah.
So we hope you, you think about your, your theology, think about how it’s been influenced, and that you can capture the hope that is offered by the the idea of the message that cries for return, that is not meant to be fearful, or meant to be hope. And and you can maybe dust off some old dispensational charts and say, hey, what was said, Well, maybe maybe in your church, go find an old backroom, you might be able to find one. There. They’re rolled up somewhere. That’s right. Well, thanks for your insight, Rex, and we’ll catch people on another episode. Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes these reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, I’m Mark Moore and this is Jessup.
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