Follow up to “The Rapture Cult and Sun Worship “
by Randy Maugans
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”
The weekend firestorm over my article, The Rapture Cult and Sun Worship in the “Holy Land”, brought a wide array of responses including many supportive of the article. It also landed at the P.I.D. websites with a measured response of both embarrassment and some back-stepping.
I want to be clear that my critical remarks are not a personal attack on the Gilberts per se, but another volley of the grievances I have aired many years at those who promote the pre-tribulation rapture and dispensationalist doctrine—and the flakiness that attends same.
Understand, this is a public war for hearts and minds! As events heat up and every day brings us all closer to what most Bible based Christians see as the tribulation, these things take on a greater importance. Perhaps (just perhaps) believing in rapture did not matter 50 years ago. Perhaps “God winked”. Perhaps believers who were trapped in the church system and spoon-fed the doctrines brought into their churches by unscrupulous (and dishonst) Bible teachers were given the benefit of the doubt by a merciful God. After all Israel labored in bondage for 430 years after the writings of Malachi made it very clear that the preisthood was corrutpt. Jesus loved them and presented Himself for their redemption at the appointed time.
Like Israel of old, the spiritual Israel of the New Covenant—what is erroneously called “The Church”—has back-slidden and now cannot hear, or read the plain writ of scripture. The abundance of refutations on rapture doctrine (pre-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath—pick one) and the enormous evidence compiled about the dishonesty of Cyrus Scofield and his followers bears a witness not unlike that borne by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Lord, Himself to a people whose “heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed…”
It is never comfortable for me to go after another ministry—it is not sport or done lightly. But indignation rises up, and those who have placed themselves into the public ministry of the scriptures play by different standards than those outlined in Matthew 18. I understand this…I have been on the receiving end of it many times.
Just once, I wish someone would take full responsibility for the doctrines they promote. There seems to be this attitude that prophecy is devoid of doctrinal implications. That prophetic understanding is somehow a parlor game in which anything can be thrown out into the “mix” without doctrinal underpinnings.
The response from P.I.D. Radio is an example of a half-hearted attempt at face-saving in the face of withering criticism. I would apologize if I thought I erred, but so far my comments still are valid. I will note that Sharon Gilbert posted to her blog a “disclaimer”—and has now deleted the article completely (the full text is in the article) . So much for journalistic integrity!
Derek Gilbert has now weighed in with his piece, Clarification on the Blessing of the Sun” (partial quote):
“But when believers who devote themselves to the study of prophecy misunderstand us, we obviously didn’t make our point clear.
We did not and would never attribute prophetic authority to anything but scripture. We simply mentioned this historic event as another data point to consider while analyzing the big picture.
Now, there is a spirit at work in assigning importance to any specific sign or date. It’s entirely possible that the enemy, which knows scripture better than any of us, has attached significance to this year’s Blessing of the Sun (just as it has with the year 2012) to distract us from the core issue of sin and salvation.
That doesn’t mean we should ignore the event. At the very least, we should be aware that the enemy may use it to deceive others who are looking for a false Messiah. That point wasn’t made clear during the show, and for that I apologize.
But please don’t interpret that error as somehow endorsing the event or basing our doctrine on it. From the whole of the work we’ve produced at P.I.D. Radio and our websites, our position should be clear. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.”
My thoughts are that they still don’t get it. First, what was meant by the term: “Jewish believers” in the opening line of the article? Believers in what? The congenial tone and wholesale embrace of this mass of sun-worshippers as “believers” communicates a relationship which the undiscerning reader would impute as fellowship. But my Bible tells me (Ephesians 5:11) to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (or sun worship). What part of this is not doctrine?
Derek Gilbert’s clever inversion of the prophetic aspects of this article is to be envied. Now it is, perhaps, the work of the enemy to divert attention to a particular sign or date—yeah, that’s it. Flip Wilson call home.
The real problem in all this is that, Derek and Sharon’s assertion aside, this WAS and is a doctrinal issue. For all the reasons I outlined in the original post regarding rapture and dispensational doctrine there were inherent doctrinal positions taken in both articles which go beyond the simple issue of salvation.
Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is level one for a believer. It is by far the most important—and fragile—but it does not end there. In fact, scripture is very clear that doctrine is what sustains the believer, nourishes faith, and matures the walk. It is pure sophistry to think that such an article (and a podcast, although I did not hear the show), couched as it was in prophetic tones did not represent doctrine.
The doctrine represented was an expressed belief in a pre-trib rapture of the church, the “doctrine of immanance” (the belief that the aforementioned “rapture” can occur at any time—no prior signs required…), and a heavy emphasis on something termed “the third redemption of Israel”, along with a seven year tribulation cycle.
The war for hearts and minds of believers holds high stakes in the last days. The rapture doctrine is riddled with problems, including its theoretical placement in the time line of Revelation and Daniel. The fact is, that the “rapture doctrine” is not a coherent Biblical doctrine, it is part of the state of Babel which now grips both the established church system and the “alternative” para-church movement on the internet.
The Threshing Floor is often contacted by confused believers—many new converts, who are helplessly searching for the “certain sound” of coherent doctrine. Others have left the church system they know is corrupt, and seek clear, strongly reasoned exegesis of scripture. Each time we have to address the contradictions presented by erroneous, careless or casual doctrinal presentations, my heart cries out for a God to cleanse His house.
We need to get away from the glib presentations, the careless commentaries, and the hodge-podge of current events. We need to get a clear view of scripture and an ever-present awe of the author of the Word, and the presence of His Holy Spirit who teaches all things and brings all things into remembrance…(John 14:26). With those thoughts I close this matter, except to pray for the body of believers to become “fellowhelpers to the truth”(3John 1:8)—to that end I offer always to give an answer, to every man that asketh, of what I believe.