106) False Prophets Give The Kiss Of Death

“Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me…And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” (II Samuel 15:4-6)

There are two approaches to counseling – whether legal, psychological or spiritual.

  • Like Absalom, support your client’s version of who is to blame, without determining the facts.
  • Conduct a thorough investigation of the situation, including obtaining collateral witness testimony of the client’s version.

As a psychiatric provider I have lost clients when I insist on dealing with the facts of the matter, such as the evidence of substance abuse rather than accepting their diagnosis of anxiety, ADHD, etc. and providing requested prescriptions for controlled substances. Actually I’ve lost a couple of jobs, because an upset client carries a lot of weight with a practice manager who is only interested in profits from repeat customers.

Psychologists are especially reluctant to be too frank with their clients, who have, after all, come to them to pour out their grief and disappointments and anger regarding their personal and work relationships. It’s much easier on the counselor to soothe and comfort than to point out the repeating pattern of disappointments indicating that the common denominator is the client who needs to examine him/her self.

But this approach won’t protect the provider from being found guilty of malpractice if failure to deal honestly with a client’s condition leads to suicide or harm to others. The provider has to show that

  1. the client was properly assessed and diagnosed according to DSM criteria
  2. and the treatment provided met current standards.

I know of a case where a provider determined a man was not suicidal because he said he wasn’t, despite clear evidence that he wasn’t, having only survived a massive overdose just two days previously, by chance, when his wife came home early. Her claim of confidence that she didn’t need to spend her Friday evening admitting him to the psychiatric unit for his safety was belied by her documentation that his wife promised to keep him safe at home. As the medical provider she was responsible for his safety, not any family member. He killed himself, and she was found guilty of malpractice.

How much more a religious leader reassuring his clients that they don’t need to change their beliefs or behaviors to avoid eternal doom. He can really build up a client base who love his comforting style, but he isn’t helping them, just himself to their bank accounts.

It is easy to recognize the false claims of spiritual authority when, as with legal and psychological texts establishing the standards, we compare them to the Bible.

Three high priests were appointed and quickly removed by the Roman governor Valerius Gratus before Caiaphas, suggesting that he was a shrewd collaborator with the Romans [secular government].

As a member of the Sadducees, Caiaphas did not believe in the resurrectionSince Caiaphas was in charge of the temple, he was aware of the money changers and animal sellers who were driven out by Jesus (John 2:14-16). Caiaphas may have received a fee or bribe from these vendors…

His trial of Jesus violated Jewish law and was rigged to produce a guilty verdict. Perhaps he saw Jesus as a menace to Roman order, but he also may have seen this new message as a threat to his family’s rich way of life.

This group is equivalent to the wealthy, politically connected, highly respected and financially supported religious leaders of our day as examined in the post Everything New is Old Again. Money is their god.

The Sadducees

the Sadducees collaborated with the Hellenization, or Greek influence, on Israel…They tended to be wealthy aristocrats, out of touch and unconcerned with the suffering of the peasants…Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead as well as an afterlife, saying the soul ceased to exist after death. They did not believe in angels or demons.

This group is equivalent to elite classes who attend church for social reasons but don’t believe a word of it. Praise of men is their god.

The scribes

when the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, the soferim, or Scribes, were organized by Ezra into a distinct body. These Scribes became the interpreters and copyists of God’s law…

In order to preserve the law of God, it needed to be studied carefully, and all of its precepts needed to be given application according to the ever-changing way of public and private life in Israel. By developing a system of rules for people to follow, they forgot the heart and spirit of the law. Their prescriptions did not allow anyone the freedom to truly seek the LORD.

These Scribes would read the Torah in the synagogues, give commentary, and lecture their disciples. They were…the preservers of the commentaries and additions to the law. This oral tradition accumulated over the course of time into a great mass, and was regarded by most to be equal or even greater than the law itself.

It was to these oral traditions that Jesus so often attacked (see Mark 7:5-13). Even Paul the apostle spoke of himself as having been at one time “exceedingly zealous of the traditions” of his fathers (Gal 1:14).

The Scribes also developed forced interpretations of the law, attempting to find a hidden meaning in every word, syllable, and letter. Jesus charged them saying “Woe unto you, lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge, you entered not in yourselves, and those that were entering in you hindered.” (Luke 11:52).

During the time of Jesus Christ the Jewish people were very dependent upon the Scribes. The language of the Jews was passing into the Aramaic dialect, and most of the people were unable to understand their own Torah, and gladly excepted the interpretation which was given by the Scribes.

This group is equivalent to the leaders of the masses who don’t study for themselves but depend for their beliefs on what they are told in commentaries, like dispensationalists on the Scofield Reference Bible or Clarence Larkins’ The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in the World.

Knowledge is Power is their god.

For the masses who blindly follow them without checking out the biblical accuracy of their claims, sloth, the opposite of study, is their god. Ironically, the verse that tells believers to study is a foundational text for Dispensationalism because of the catchphrase “rightly dividing” which purportedly endorses dispensations.

The Pharisees

The self-righteous Pharisees came into being during the Babylonian captivity.

During the Captivity or Exile, detailed commentaries on the law appeared in the form of innumerable and highly specific restrictions that were designed to “build a hedge” around the written Torah…according to some Jewish authorities [recognize that tactic of rushing into a power vacuum?]…new legislation had to be produced from that which already existed…it was these “traditions” that Jesus condemned…

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat…they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men…the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren / equals.” (Matthew 23:1-8)

The Pharisees formed the largest and most influential religious-political party in New Testament times. They are consistently depicted in the Gospels as antagonists or opponents of Jesus Christ and the early Christians.

The name “Pharisee” means “separated one.” The Pharisees separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people because they considered them religiously unclean.

Middle-class businessmen and trades workers, the Pharisees started and controlled the synagogues, those Jewish meeting places that served for both local worship and education. They also put great importance on oral tradition, making it equal to the laws written in the Old Testament.

The Pharisees were extremely accurate and detail-oriented in all matters pertaining to the law of Moses. While they were sound in their professions and creeds, their system of religion was more about outward form than genuine faith…

Because they taught that the way to God was by obeying the law, the Pharisees gradually changed Judaism from a religion of sacrifice to one of keeping the commandments (legalism).

While acknowledging that “the New Testament contains no explicit record of a transmission of Peter’s leadership; nor…the transmission of apostolic authority in general…it considers that its doctrine has a developmental history and that its teaching about matters such as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ…developed as the result of drawing out from the original revealed truth consequences that were not obvious…the doctrine of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, in the form in which it is upheld today in the Catholic Church, developed over the course of centuries, often in reaction to challenges made against exercises of authority by popesThe event that is often considered to have been the first conflict…was promulgated in the First Council of Constantinople (381) canon 3 which decreed…”Constantinople is New Rome.”…The increasing involvement of Eastern emperors in church matters…led successive bishops of Rome to attempt a sharper definition of their ecclesial position vis-a-vis the other bishops.The first documented use of the description of Saint Peter as first bishop of Rome, rather than as the apostle who commissioned its first bishop, dates from 354…Frm the time of Pope Damasus, the text of Matthew 16:18 (“You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church”) is used to support Roman primacy. Pope Innocent I (401–417)…wrote: “All must preserve that [authority] which Peter the prince of the apostles delivered to the church at Rome…

New revelations usually come during times of great social upheaval with attacks on biblical faith and “men’s hearts failing them for fear“.

“God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me [Paul]…but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” (I Timothy 1:7-8)

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” (I Corinthians 15:33-34)

Awakening or Falling Prey to Hypnotists?

To understand what is taking place today, we need to understand the nature of the recurring political-religious cycles called “Great Awakenings.” Each lasting about 100 years, Great Awakenings consist of three phases, each about a generation long.

  1. Technological advances outpace the existing ethical capacity to cope.
  2. Religious revival brings changes in church beliefs and practice.
  3. Political reform is effected by a coalition of church and state through shared commitment to improve society.

Whoa! Hold up! A coalition of church and state? Wake up people! Has Christianity turned Republican America into theocracy just like its predecessor Republican Rome?

Let’s follow the trail of evidence.

The Roman concept of religion had never been that of an…exclusive obligatory moral loyalty to an unseen and highly spiritual Being.

The native official religion…was a part of the state system, and its administration a part of the administration of the state. The citizens and subjects of Rome were all naturally regarded in a technical sense as adherents of its religion as much as of the rest of its political system…the Roman mind was quite incapable of conceiving that any purely religious cult could reasonably exist that demanded exclusive spiritual loyalty to itself alone from its devotees. Hence Roman law and custom regarded the adherents of all these other religions as special groups of citizens or subjects organized into voluntary associations or clubs for their own purposes, not inconsistent with their proper civic loyalty. To cite a modern though not very precise parallel, they were, from the official Roman standpoint, like special religious confraternities in the Christian Church of today. Such voluntary associations were therefore usually permitted.

But isn’t the concept of a coalition of church and state prohibited in the First Amendment?

One might think. But notice the dialectic that occurs in each of the Awakenings, according to Hegel’s definition of dialect:

the way in which two very different forces or factors work together, and the way in which their differences are resolved.”

Conspiracy theorists apply Hegel’s philosophy as an instrument of social control used by a shadowy cabal bent on implementing a New World Order.

The theory goes like so: (Step 1) dark forces contrive a crisis, (Step 2) which…instils fear in the public…(Step 3) a solution to restore public order [through] New laws and policies…are enacted [which] covertly serve the purpose that the dark forces wanted all along: the enslavement of humanity. This is a form of mass mind control that shepherds an oblivious public towards tyranny and oppression.

An extremely popular…reading states that Hegel’s dialectic is a way of understanding the world through…the triad of thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Something happens (a thesis), which provokes a response (an antithesis); both ideas are then melded together (a synthesis)…[also called] “problem, reaction, solution…”

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Antithesis

For Hegel, the phenomenon of things becoming their own opposite permeates the world. [Emphases added here and below.] It even finds its way into popular sayings, like pride comes before a fall; someone is in a great position but then suddenly finds themselves in a terrible one. We see it in Greek tragedy, too: Antigone champions family over the state and Creon champions the state over family. Their extreme positions lead to conflict, and then inevitably to (an already fated) catastrophe.

“Both have a good position to defend, the family or the state,” says Houlgate. “But they go wrong and violate one another’s rights. And they do violence to themselves. They promote the right thing, but in such a one-sided way that it ends up turning into the wrong.”

Synthesis

Thinking in a Hegelian manner can help us better understand the…angry, bewildered people who buy into conspiracy theories. In his analysis of civil society, Hegel notes how societies that are geared towards maximising wealth leave masses of people impoverished and alienated.

“If you listen to some of the Trump supporters… they articulated a sense of being left behind. No one cares about us. That strikes me as being a kind of alienation,” says Houlgate. “If you build into this a sense of resentment and unfulfilled entitlement – would that explain why people lose trust in standard news outlets and things?…I think Hegel might ask us to think about the self-contradictory elements in the society we’ve produced.” [Emphasis added.]

We can ask dialectical questions. Why has civil society, whose purpose is to secure the welfare and rights of its participants, produced subjects who feel so abandoned? How has the internet, which offers the full breadth and scope of human knowledge at our fingertips, resulted in such ignorance? When did Hegel, a philosopher who historicised humanity’s understanding of the character of freedom, become the purveyor of a theory that posits mankind is doomed to enslavement?

If we’re lucky we might produce a synthesis, and a greater understanding of how the world both does and doesn’t work.

So how is the schizm between church and state resolved in a Hegelian dialectic? Let’s examine the dialectics of the Great Awakening cycles and consider if a shadowy Adversary set up the church, or if internal failings within the church caused it to fall under the control of government.

The following review of the cycles of religious revivals focuses on America, but the Awakenings also occurred in Europe.

The First Great Awakening 1730-1830

Problem: The Enlightenment emerged out of Renaissance humanism, the Scientific Revolution and the work of Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton, culminating in the 1789 outbreak of the French Revolution. Philosophers and scientists of the period widely circulated their ideas through meetings especially at Masonic lodges, and through mass publications made possible with the printing press, Emphasizing the replacement of religious orthodoxy, the  Enlightenment broadcast new ideas of the sovereignty of reason and primacy of the the scientific method through the evidence of the senses as the source of knowledge instead of religious revelation, the priority of the pursuit of happiness over religious duty, and new ideals of  liberty, progress, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. The Enlightenment was converting many people to atheism, Deism, Unitarianism and Universalism.

Reaction: Revival services placing an emphasis on sinners personally experiencing God’s love and forgiveness through sensing outpourings of the Holy Spirit held across denomination lines produced an evangelical Protestantism. Individual choice replaced the traditional Calvinist doctrine of God’s sovereignty expressed in predestination. Emotional expression of the Holy Spirit encouraged visions and mystical experiences. Critics called this enthusiasm while accusing the revivals of fostering disorder, fanaticism and heresy by enabling uneducated, itinerant preachers to build churches. The loosened denominational boundaries helped forge a common evangelical identity which became a political force. 

Solution: The American Revolution supported by churches as a consequence of the widespread adoption of egalitarianism vs predestination, the priority of the pursuit of happiness over religious duty, and the new ideals of liberty, progress, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. The new American nation was modeled on the Roman Republic (Fourth Empire) and designed, not by Christians, but by Enlightenment Deists and Freemasons such as George Washington, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

The Freemasons were a fraternal society that advocated Enlightenment principles of inquiry and tolerance… Masonic lodges (local units) soon spread throughout Europe and the British colonies. One prominent Freemason, Benjamin Franklin, stands as the embodiment of the Enlightenment in British America.

In recent years, we have been told by a variety of conservatives that America’s founding fathers established the country under Christian doctrine—that we are a “Christian nation” and should operate accordingly.

This notion…is both foolish and wrong…

only one of the 56 founding fathers was a member of the clergy…James Madison objected to chaplains opening the proceedings of Congress with prayer…Many of the founding fathers—Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and Monroe…[were] Deists [who] believe in a supreme being who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws—and after creation, is absent from the world…

A treaty of peace and friendship between the United States and Tripoli that was approved by George Washington explicitly stated: “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…”

[Enlightenment Philosopher Francis] Bacon promoted colonization of the New Worldto found a new and better world…driven by dissatisfaction with the Divine Right of Kings, taxation without representation, and…religious intolerance. As part of new reformation, Bacon wrote the charter for the Virginia Colony. Both The Tempest and Bacon’s New Atlantis are allegorical descriptions of an ideal way of life. The American Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence exactly 150 years after Francis Bacon’s death. Bacon’s vision of a better world was cherished by Thomas Jefferson, who considered Bacon one of the three greatest thinkers of modern times. In a sense, Bacon can be seen as the Godfather to the Founding Fathers.

Unknown to most people, Sir Francis Bacon has been one of the most influential people in western society since Jesus Christ. Few people are aware of the full story of  Francis Bacon or why it has been  hidden for so long by those who have written our history…

he was the father of modern science because he introduced research through recorded trial and error.

He was the editor in chief for the King James Bible…

he was perhaps the greatest politician who ever lived having represented 3 seats in the House of Commons plus a Member of the House of Lords all concurrently…

He created a new religion combining Jesus, Horus and Lucifer under the banners of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry.

See the post The Fourth Kingdom for details on the pagan roots of of the American Republic.

Can we not see how Christianity’s reaction to the ideals of the Enlightenment played right into the Deist and Freemason founders of America? Was this Hegelian dialectic

  1. a conspiracy setup by dark forces
  2. or an intrinsic flaw in Christianity itself?

Based on Jesus Christ’s statement that “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:18), we have to conclude that the Christian churches whose revivals assisted in the American Revolution were not part of the church of Christ.

During the Revolutionary era, the pulpit played a key role in encouraging dissent. The political activism of these black-robed ministers earned them the name “the black regiment…”At the bottom of the original Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress ordered copies of the Declaration first be sent not to town clerks or newspapers but to parish ministers, who were “required to read the same to their respective congregations, as soon as divine service is ended, in the afternoon, on the first Lord’s day after they have received it.”

Second Great Awakening 1800-1920

editorial_cartoon_depicting_charles_darwin_as_an_ape_28187129Problem: Darwinism in both individual and social “survival of the fittest” in opposition to Postmillennialist belief that Christ will return to earth after either a literal 1,000 years or a figurative “long period” of peace and happiness which Christians had a duty to bring about.

Reaction: Centered in a region of western New York by Charles Finney, a leading revivalist active in the area. The religious events in Western New York had a unique and lasting impact upon the religious and social life of the entire nation. New religious movements sprang up.

[Joseph] Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement…in the late 1820s as he was dictating the Book of Mormon, which he said was a translation of words found on a set of golden plates that had been buried near his home in Upstate New York by an indigenous American prophet…After the translation was complete, Smith said that he returned the plates to the angel Moroni; thus they could never be examined. Latter Day Saints believe the account of the golden plates as a matter of faith, 

William Miller was an American Baptist preacher[in the same time frame and geographical area as Joseph Smith]. Basing his calculations principally on Daniel 8:14: “Unto 2,300 days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”, Miller assumed that the cleansing of the sanctuary represented the Earth’s purification by fire…at Christ’s Second Coming. Then…Miller (and others) interpreted a day in prophecy to read… as a calendar year…Simple calculation then revealed that this period would end in 1843…“From first to last the power of the press, in this particular form, was one of the foremost factors in the success of this now vigorous, expanding movement.”…Millerite papers were published in numerous cities…March 21, 1844 passed without incident…resulted in the brief adoption of a new date—April 18, 1844….Again…date was determined to be October 22, 1844…ended like any other day to the disappointment of the Millerites…In the confusion that followed the Great Disappointment it seemed that almost every Millerite had an opinion—all of them different…Much of the responsibility for this proliferation of viewpoints must be shouldered by Miller, whose Rules of Biblical Interpretation outlined a method of biblical study that encouraged each person to read the Bible and to “do theology” for themselves…By mid-1845, doctrinal lines amongst the various Millerite groups began to solidify, emphasizing…sect building.”

  • The first major division of the Millerite groups who had not completely given up their belief in Christ’s Second Advent were those who accepted a shut-door theologyto October 22, 1844, teaching that…Christ came spiritually as the Bridegroom, the wise virgins had entered into the wedding feast, and the door was then shut on all others.This first group is commonly known as… “spiritualizer” group.
  • the second post-‘Great Disappointment’ group…the Advent Christian Church…its narrowing of beliefs was unacceptable to many. Millerism had been founded on Miller’s open, non-restrictive approach to Bible study–“It was the freedom to discover new truths that had drawn so many Christians and Freewill Baptists to the movement. The new restrictive definitions…was unacceptable to many who had joined the movement.”
  • The third major post-disappointment Millerite group also claimed…that the October 22 date was correct. Rather than Christ returning invisibly however, they came to view the event that took place on October 22, 1844 as having been quite different…the day after the Great Disappointment“Heaven seemed open to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming…to come to this earth…at the end of the 2300 days, that He…had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth in His Second Coming “the sanctuary to be cleansed in Daniel 8:14 was not the earth or the church, but the sanctuary in heaven.”…This is the basis for the later Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgement. It is out of this third Millerite group that the Seventh-day Adventist Church [was birthed].
  • Charles Taze Russell…founder of what is now known as the Bible Student movement…co-founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society…From 1886 to 1904, he published a six-volume Bible study series…Studies in the Scripturesstressing the imminence of the rapture…When 1878 arrived, failure of the expected rapture brought great disappointment [and proof that he was a false prophet, nonetheless]…In 1881, Russell founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Societyby 1909, Russell’s writings had become the most widely distributed, privately produced English-language works in the United States…the entire corpus of his works were the third most circulated on earth, after the Bible and the Chinese Almanacin North America Russell’s writings had achieved a greater circulation “than the combined circulation of the writings of all the priests and preachers in North America.“… Russell agreed with other Protestants on the primacy of the Bible, and justification by faith alone, but thought that errors had been introduced in interpretation. 
    • Russell…taught that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but the manifestation of God’s power.
    • Russell believed that Christ had returned invisibly in October 1874,
    • After the outbreak of World War I, Russell reinterpreted 1914 as the beginning of Armageddon.
    • Russell believed that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built by the Hebrews…to be understood only in our day…Calculations were made using the pattern of an inch per year…1874, 1914, and 1918 were purported to have been found through the study of this monument.
    • Christian Zionism…God’s favor had been restored to Jews…in 1878…teaching that Jews should not convert to Christianity. 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest of several Adventist groups which arose from the Millerite movement….Among its most prominent figures…Ellen G. Whitecame to occupy a particularly central role; her many visions and spiritual leadership convinced her fellow Adventists that she possessed the gift of prophecy…The church was formally established in 1863…turned to evangelism through missionary work and revivals…the teachings and writings of White, ultimately proved influential…Christianity Today recognized the Seventh-day Adventist church as ” the fifth-largest Christian communion worldwide” in its January 22, 2015 issue.

Jehovah’s Witnesses…emerged from the Bible Student movement founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell…Jehovah’s Witnesses…prefer to use their own Bible translation, the New World Translation of the Holy ScripturesThe organization has received criticism regarding biblical translation, doctrines, and alleged coercion of its members. The Watch Tower Society has made various unfulfilled predictions about major biblical events such as Christ’s Second Coming, the advent of God’s Kingdom, and Armageddon.

Spiritualism was also popular in Western New York during this period, with the Lily Dale community and the Fox Sisters playing a defining role in the movement’s development.

Racial discrimination led to segregation of Blacks from White churches.

Solution: The Civil War supported by churches. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Evangelists often directly addressed issues such as slavery, greed, and poverty, laying the groundwork for abolition of slavery,  prohibition of alcohol, women’s rights and a multitude of other social issues. The common understanding of reform as being a part of God’s plan led to local churches seeing their role as purifying the world by participating in politics to effect changes in the law and the creation of institutions, further increasing the role religion played in American politics.

The Third Great Awakening 1890-1920

Problem: The Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants. Average income and population in the western world began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth for the first time in history. Rapid economic growth began to occur after 1870 in what has been called the Second Industrial Revolution due to the presence of an entrepreneurial class often linked to the Protestant work ethic. The Industrial revolution has been criticised for complete ecological collapse, causing mental illness, pollution, and turning humanity into slaves. Some studies state that over 95% of species have gone extinct and that the vast decrease in the biodiversity of life will lead to eventual mass starvation and collapse of society. 

Reaction: The marked difference in quality of life enjoyed by Western nations attributed to one’s own works crept into a new theology that poverty is not a personal failure (“the wages of sin”) but a societal failure that can be addressed by the state; a shift from preaching against personal to social sin; and a shift to more secular interpretation of the Bible and creed. The reaction to the growing awareness of an inevitable apocalyptic end to the world was met with either Postmillenialism, wherein the Church was responsible for cleaning up the mess humanity had made in order for Jesus Christ to return and take over, or Dispensationalism, wherein the Church escapes God’s judgment on humanity’s mistreatment of his earth through the Rapture.

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The Gilded Age plutocracy came under sharp attack from Social Gospel preachers and reformers, especially the battles involving child labor, compulsory elementary education, and the protection of women from exploitation in factories. With Jane Addams‘s Hull House in Chicago as its center, the settlement house movement and the vocation of social work were deeply influenced by the Social Gospel. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union mobilized Protestant women for social crusades against liquor, pornography and prostitution, and sparked the demand for women’s suffrage. The Salvation Army founded in England by William and Catherine Booth arrived in America. The promotion of “muscular Christianity” became popular among young men and in 1891 basketball was invented at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.  

Solution: “Falling Away” becomes the New Salvation.

Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science gained a national following. The Society for Ethical Culture was established in New York in 1876 by Felix Adler and attracted a Reform Jewish clientele. The New Thought movement expanded with Unity and Church of Divine Science.

The liberalism of the socially-oriented denominations had a profound effect of the success and inroads of Dispensationalism.Churches had drifted away from the doctrinal roots expressed in the old confessions and creeds. This resulted in the independent church movement, the independent Bible conference movement and the Bible school movement. Those who participated in them were almost all carrying Scofield Bibles and their leaders were predominantly Dispensational in their view.

the notes in the Scofield Reference Bible became more and more prominent in the preaching...[Despite “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:” (Revelation 22:18)]

It is not just a difference in eschatology. It is the whole system of theology that touches every major doctrine of Christianity. What is at stake is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and the sinner’s assurance that he is living according to God’s plan for history.

Belief in Christ’s personal return to set up his earthly kingdom—premillennialism—has always claimed adherents,but few people in the mid-1800s imagined it would attract more than a handful…

Given the embarrassing recent history of premillennialism in the United States (see the story of the Millerites…its revival was nothing less than amazing.

The new premillennialism came to the United States following the Civil War…John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a former priest in the Anglican Church of Ireland…called it dispensationalism, after the division of history into dispensations or eras…”marked off in Scripture by some change in God’s method of dealing with mankind, in respect to two questions: of sin, and of man’s responsibility,” explained C. I. Scofield, who popularized Darby’s system in America…

What separated dispensationalists from everybody else was their novel method of biblical interpretation.

Dispensationalists claim to have a literal hermeneutic, taking prophecies in a simple, material sense… The problem with this approach is that it arrives at interpretations which are later contradicted by the New Testament… the best interpreter of scriptures is other scriptures…which allows the Author to foreshadow spiritual realities through physical means, and later interpret them in clear, didactic writing…

Dispensationalists’ presuppositions start with the inductive reasoning that biblical history has a particular discontinuity in the way God reacts to humanity…For dispensationalists, Israel is an ethnic nation consisting of Hebrews (Israelites) [and right there is a contradiction in literal interpretation of scripture], beginning with Abraham and continuing in existence to the present. The Church, on the other hand, consists of all saved individuals in this present dispensation—i.e., from the “birth of the Church” in Acts until the time of the rapture

Classical dispensationalists refer to the present-day Church as a “parenthesis” or temporary interlude in the progress of Israel’s prophesied history….Dispensationalists believe that Israel as a nation will embrace Jesus as their messiah toward the end of the Great Tribulation, right before the Second Coming

Darby…saw that prophecy required a future fulfillment and realization of Israel’s kingdom. The New Testament church was seen as a separate program not related to that kingdom. [See the post Your First Love for details on this racist paradigm.] Thus arose a prophetic earthly kingdom program for Israel and a separate “mystery” heavenly program for the church….

Then it is necessary for the church to be raptured away before prophecy can resume its earthly program for Israelhis eschatological doctrine [that the rapture can occur at any moment] became widely popular in the United States, especially among Baptists and Old School Presbyterians…Dispensationalism was adopted, modified, and made popular in the United States by the Scofield Reference Bible. It was introduced…to a small but influential circle of American evangelicalsdisturbed by the inroads of religious liberalism. Dispensationalism was introduced as a premillennial position, and it largely took over the fundamentalist movement…The American church denominations rejected Darby’s ecclesiology but accepted his eschatology

Most people don’t have the insight to try the spirits, or time for Bible study, or the knowledge base to compare scripture with scripture. Instead, in their panic and to their detriment they snatch at the most attractive salvation package being offered.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh [reference to the death and resurrection] is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world…We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us [reference to apostolic authoritative writings]; he that is not of God heareth [accepts] not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:1-6)

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