Catechism


Q.  82 Are the bread and wine changed into the real body and blood of Christ?

A.   No.  Just as the water of baptism is not changed into Christ’s blood and does not itself wash away sins but is simply God’s sign and assurance,  so too the bread of the Lord’s Supper is not changed into the actual body of Christ  even though it is called the body of Christ  in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.

 

 

Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5

Matt. 26:26-29

1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26-28

/4Gen. 17:10-11; Ex. 12:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:1-4

 

Q. 84 Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood?

 

 

A.   Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that as bread and wine nourish our temporal life, so too his crucified body and poured-out blood truly nourish our souls for eternal life.  But more important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work, share in his true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance, and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and paid for our sins.

 

John 6:51, 55

1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26

Rom. 6:5-11

Theology Thursday: They Kingdom Come! Part 2


Last week I introduced the topic of eschatology (the study of “last things”) and explained why it matters. Readers may want to go back and re-read last Theology Thursday’s post just to get a sense of where we left off and where we’re headed. This time I will introduce the three orthodox (historical, bible-based, well-founded, in keeping with Church teaching for many centuries) schools of eschatology, and list some un-biblical, heterodox (un-orthodox) and absolutely heretical perversions of them.

Over the next two or three weeks we’ll explore the history of each system, the main features of each, and how each system deals with issues and interprets certain Scripture portions. There are three historic and orthodox schools of eschatology, each with solid footing in Scripture and history, which are either embraced or tolerated as orthodox by most Reformed churches (Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, others). Each has one or two “mongrel” forms which are not orthodox at all, unbiblical, Scripturally unsupportable, and/or downright heretical, damnable lies. I’ll mention and describe these “mongrel” forms, but I’ll try to avoid going off on a tangent about them. That might be hard for me with my background in Charismania, but I’ll try.

Three Schools of Eschatology: Two are “millennial,” one is not.

Today I’ll just briefly summarize all three, and go more in-depth with each in later Theology Thursdays.

Postmillennialism is confessional and orthodox in it’s historic form, but in our day there are two “mongrel” forms of it that have come to shape the policies and actions of certain groups, both on the fringes of orthodoxy and “off the deep end” as well. Let’s look at the major features of Postmillennialism. Orthodox postmillennialism relies on historical-grammatical hermeneutics, include context and genre as interpretive considerations (genre referring to the type of literature among the 66 books of the bible – poetry and song, narrative, instructional, prophetic / apocalyptic, etc), context determines whether a passage is literal or figurative, and “let Scripture interpret Scripture.” To orthodox postmillennialists, the Book of Revelation is mostly figurative and mostly fulfilled in the year 70 AD (“partial” pretorism).

It’s general teaching is a gradual triumph of the gospel, as it spreads and changes lives, to become the dominant force on Earth, influencing law and culture, bringing in a “golden age” in which the Church has subdued the Earth to Christ, and the Lord Jesus returns to a triumphant Church which has conquered the culture, fulfilling God’s charge to Adam, “subdue the Earth.” This “golden age” resulting from the power of the gospel transforming the whole culture of the world is not a literal 1,000 year period, but is happening even now. The Second Coming of Christ occurs after this “millennium” in which the gospel has conquered the Earth. The Lord’s Second Coming initiates the general resurrection, judgement, and eternal state.

Unbiblical “mongrel” forms of Postmillennialism take the form of Charismatic “Dominion theology” in which the world is conquered by naming-it-and-claiming-it, speaking it into being by the word of faith, etc. The other mongrel form of Postmillennialism is so-called “Reformed” theonomy in which even the civil laws of ancient Israel are reinstated, and Church and State become one.

Amillennialism relies on the historical-grammatical method of interpretation. Context and genre are interpretive considerations, Scripture interprets Scripture, Old Testament interpreted by the New Testament. Some amillennialists see Progressive Parallelism in the Book of Revelation; Earth’s history repeated seven times. Most amillennialists are pretorist; either orthodox (“partial”) pretorist or hyper (“full”) pretorist, teaching that either most (“partial,” orthodox) or all (“full” or hyper-pretorist) prophecy in Revelation is already fulfilled by 70 AD. Hyper-pretorism, or “full” pretorism is absolutely heretical! The Second Coming, resurrection, judgment, and recreation have certainly NOT already taken place! “Partial,” or orthodox pretorism, however, as found in historic Postmillennialism and Amillennialism, is within the bounds of historical orthodoxy.

Like Postmillennialists, Amillennialists teach that we are in “the millennium” now; that it is not a literal period of 365,000 24-hour days, but that the “thousand years of peace” described in Revelation is figurative, meaning only “a really long time.” Amillennialism is better named “Non-millennialism.” The prefix “A” means “not,” as in “asymmetrical” (not symmetrical) or “asymptomatic” (having no symptoms).

Despite the power of the gospel to change the lives of those who believe it, Amillennialism teaches that the great majority of humanity will reject the gospel, and the Lord will return to rescue a persecuted remnant rather than a triumphant, world-conquering Church which dominates the planet-wide, “Christianized” human culture. It is often called pessimistic eschatology, but that is a misnomer. Optimism or pessimism depends on one’s point of view. The remnant does indeed overcome the world, but not in the form of a “golden age” where the whole world is majority-Christian and truly living in the power of Spirit-filled holiness. The Scriptures are replete with Remnant types and narratives, from the fist family to the tiny surviving remnant of those who fled from Egypt, those emerging from the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, etc. Amillennialism teaches that the Lord returns to rescue a persecuted remnant, and that the Second Coming initiates the resurrection, judgment, and final state of humanity.

Premillennialism
takes three forms in our day. Historic, Dispensational, and Progressive. Only Historic premillennialism is orthodox! Dispensational Premillennialism is heterodox at best, but usually heretical in that it offers two different plans of salvation – one for Jews and another for Gentiles), wrongly dividing the people of God. The little Epistle to the Ephesians is the antidote for such foolishness. The Progressive form of premillennialism, first appearing in the 1980’s, teaches that the meaning of Scripture changes over time, and that Scripture means “whatever it means to me, at the time I read it.” This is a complete departure from the historical-grammatical process, which understands that the meaning of any portion of Scripture is whatever the author and the Holy Spirit intended when it was penned. This is “liberal theology” run amok. “Progressive Dispensationalism” will get no further consideration in this series, but it bears mentioning since it has found a place in some “Emergent” churches.

Historic Premillennialism relies on the historical-grammatical hermeneutic, context and genre are interpretive considerations, and Scripture interprets Scripture. In a “natural reading” of Revelation, context determines whether it is to be interpreted literally or figuratively, and the Old Testament is interpreted by the New. In Historic Premillenialism the literal 1,000-year reign of Christ on Earth is to be seen as Christ-centered rather than focused on mankind and it’s destiny.

Dispensational Premillennialism’s hermeneutic has a strong inclination towards literalism. Scripture and history are divided into 7 dispensations, prophecy is interpreted literally, and the Old Testament is interpreted by the New. The whole bible is divided into 7 time periods (dispensations) in which God acts in different ways toward men, and whenever possible, Scripture is to be interpreted literally.

Historic Premillennialism goes waaaaaay back to the late first century. Premillennialism, as it’s name suggests, teaches that the Second Coming of Christ initiates a literal 1,000 year period of unprecedented peace on Earth, under the physical and political reign of King Jesus from Jerusalem, capitol city of planet Earth, followed by a rebellion, Armageddon, judgment, the destruction and re-creation of Earth and it’s inheritance by those who were saved in this present world. In Historic Premillennialism, the Second Coming is not separated from the “secret rapture” described in Dispensational Premillennialism by years of time (3-1/2 or 7 depending on one’s “pre, mid, or post-tribulation” persuasion). In all three orthodox schools of eschatology, the catching-away of the Church to meet the Lord in the air is not a separate event from the Second Coming, but simultaneous with His coming to Earth in judgment. Only in Dispensational Premillennialism are the two distinguished from one another, occurring as separate events with some period of time between the two.

In Historic Premillennialism, the chapters in Revelation appear in chronological order, the enthroned saints are on Earth, there are two physical resurrections (the just and the unjust are resurrected separately); Christ returns before the millennium but after the tribulation period. The Second Coming ushers in a literal 1,000-year period of planet-wide transformation.

That’s a kinda-sorta summary of the three basic forms of orthodox eschatology, with brief notes on un-orthodox variations of each. This is a lot of information in just a few paragraphs! It could easily become very confusing… so,

Next Week: A Chart to make this a little easier to keep all these different schools of thought organized in summary form.

Until then,
Robin

Catechism


Q. 82 Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?

A.  In the institution of the Lord’s Supper:
“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
1 Cor. 11:23-26
1 Cor. 10:16-17

Frenetic Friday


And now coming to you live from the secret cave underneath Superman’s fortress of solitude in the Arctic it is the Frenetic Friday show! Accept no substitute, void where prohibited by law.

Religion of Peace Update:
Mosul, Iraq:There is evidence via satellite images that the oldest Christian structure in Iraq has been destroyed by ISIS. The Saint Elijah monastery — also known as Dair Mar Elia — was located on the outskirts of Mosul. It is unlikely that the 1400 year old monastery collapsed because of age rather by examing before and after satellite images it appears that the monastery was pulverized to dust. Also there appears to be bulldozer tracks leading to the monastery.

Now ISIS has not claimed that they have done this but circumstantial evidence points to them. They occupied Mosul in 2014, and they are notorious for destroying any type of religious shrines including Moslem ones.

Islamabad, Pakistan:  A boy mishearing what an Iman said during his sermon raised his hand when the Iman asked who didn’t believe in Mohammed’s teachings.  They boy thinking he asked who followed Mohammed’s teachings raised his hand.  The Imam called the boy a blasphemer in front of the entire mosque.  Arriving at his home the boy then chopped off his hand!  Placing the severed hand on a tray he brought the hand to the Imam.  Only then was he taken to the hospital.  The boy’s father has praised his action saying that he did it for the prophet.  The Imam has been arrested and charged on an anti-terrorism charge for inciting violence.  Blasphemy is a serious crime in Islāmic countries and carries the death penalty.  Enraged mobs have killed many accused of blasphemy.

The Deadliest Year:  What makes 2015 memorial for you?  Was it the birth of a child?  A marriage?  Perhaps a new job?  How about “the  most sustained attack on the Christian faith”?  The Christian persecution watch group Open Doors said  7,000 Christians were killed for their faith between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015.  For the fourteenth year in a row North Korean topped the list.  It is estimated that 50,000 to 70,000 people were imprisoned in its labor camps.  This doesn’t surprise many as the leader of country has created its own religion “Dear Leader”(source) and to worship anyone else is against the law.  Especially if it is someone who has a higher authority such as the Jesus Christ.

Again is surprises no one that the other countries on the list typically have fifty percent or greater Muslim population and Islāmic extremism is the engine of the persecution.  (source)

Politics:  Yes unfortunately it is that time once again where just about every thing you see on the great flat screen has to do with politics.  Since we can’t escape it let’s be selective. 

So let’s talk about the affordable care act or as it is commonly called Obamacare.  If you’ve been one of the lucky ones who had to go to Healthcare.gov you may have been over whelmed by your choices.  But did you know that as your income rises your health care options worsen?  Yes John Podczerwinski found that if you expect to earn $51,000 a year you’re not allowed to buys the same insurance as someone who has $49,000 a year in earnings.  Read:  I accidentally found even more awful things inside of Obamacare 

It is the anniversary of Roe v Wade and even as millions march let’s look at some hard facts.  Did the video expose by Center for Medical Progress really change hearts and minds.  Let’s not be delusional. Those that promote abortion know that it is a baby, they know that they are killing  another person, they believe they have the right to do so.  So why didn’t the videos change anyone’s mind?

Read:  Why nothing has changed despite the Planned Parenthood video expose by Daniel Friedman

Mark Lamprecht gives what I consider the best quote about politics:

The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse, “The Lord reigns! Let the nations tremble!” Psalm 99:1 – John Newton

Robotic Over Lords: I once again would like to state that I welcome our Robotic Over Lords especially now.  In an article on CNN Money experts in the field of robotics called on world leaders to prepare for killer robots.  A killer robot is: ” a self-directed robot that can be programmed to target and kill people without human intervention.”  They point out that combining the technology of self driving cars and drones you can create such a robot.  And while they may not exist right now, it is just a matter of time. (source)

Speaking of drone the Telegraph reports that the pentagon plans a fleet of laser drones to shoot missiles down.

The earlier experiments used a 747 to shoot a laser and destroy the missile but planes require fuel and need to land.  The latest drone technology can stay aloft for days at a time which is superior to the plane prototype.

The challenge now is to develop lighter weight lasers with longer ranges, that can be fitted to the latest drones, capable of staying aloft for days at a time.

“You’re going to need as much power as you can get to destroy as many boosters as you can,” said Vice-Adml Syring.

“If you can balance that range, altitude, power and number of boosters you need to defeat to help augment our kinetic capability, you’re thinking about the problem exactly right.” (source)

And that is it for Frenetic Friday.