Zev Porat

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Layman's "Baa!"


Being a 60 year old Christian and having worked in a Swiss Christian publishing house as a lecturer for almost two decades I am currently mailing this "Baa" to all the prophecy experts worldwide I have come to appreciate, waiting for no less than a miracle to happen... It's grounded in a feeling of helplessness, of being left alone. By our theologians, to be specific. What's left is a layman's baa. Why is that, you may wonder.

Well, just take a look at today's overall important subject: prophecy. Is there any aspect of current interpretations for honest, truth seeking Christians that doesn't resemble more or less an entrenched battlefield with hostile fractions trying to hold "their" ground?

But: remember, what makes the Bible special, what is the true mark of authenticity, God's authority behind it? You find the answer in countless verses, stating something like: "Where is a God comparable to me who can foretell the future, who knows what will happen long before it
actually does?"

I watched endless disputes of the so called new atheists with Christians with one question asked in countless variations: Why do you believe what you believe? And this element of prophecy was literally NEVER cited!

And of course, if any outsider would try to find out on his own what this foretelling could be all about – he would easily get lost in a huge library of controversial exegesis on this big subject. I can tell - because I have one at home. You maybe too?

So what is my point, you may ask? Well, if I had a wish for free, I would lock up all the experts in a lonely place not to be released until they came forward with some sort of summary. On what they agree, on what they agree to disagree. Only restriction: nothing of this "ex
cathedra" talk allowed. Most probably, after weeks or month of arguing, they would have to
humbly confess in the end: "We don't know it all. Many questions are left open".

The debate already begins with Genesis. With the big questions, how all came into existence. You will easily run at first into hard line creationists, to be flanked by teleological evolutionists from the deChardin's faction. Eventually, you will meet the young earth party to be contradicted by the ones clinging to the gap theory. And hey, let's not forget the Nephilim theory of Genesis 6! And the Book of Henoch. And, of course big subjects like Pember's "Earth's Early Ages" and and and...

And it end's with the Revelation, of course. There you will run into amellianism, postmillianism, and, to make things more complex, let's not forget the rapture with its pre-tribulation, mid-trib, posttrib or pre-wrath fractions, the endless concepts of a possible last world leader, also commonly known as Antichrist. And sure, do not miss the various interpretations of the different beasts and judgments! And, of course, be sure to consider the speculations about the role of Islam's Mahdi... Tough stuff, you know? Almost certainly you do. And tune into my confused layman's baaing? But wait, I almost dare to turn this baaing into an indictment by stating: OUR THEOLOGIANS HAVEN'T COMPLETED THEIR JOB YET!

How dare I? Let me explain. What should be the theologians real job? To enlighten, instruct and guide the often so called "sheeple" , that is God's chosen flock. Could you agree? Maybe so?

But what do these experts deliver to the flock for the most part? Their very own personal endless and complex elaborates, but almost always with the smell of an "Ex Cathera", infallible that is. In no way, of course, I intend to offend my brothers in Christ working on prophecy, some of them I hove come to respect deeply. Just want to "wake them up", getting focused on the big task ahead and trying to come up with some sort of summary the Church could relate to.

Of course, gaining real knowledge is complex and hard work. That is why in science the practice of peer review has been established. With impressive success. And team discussions of experts. Hundreds of scientists at CERN in my home country Switzerland are presently trying to find out what an atom really is, where it's mass is coming from. And an atom is only the very basic element of all that exists. The LEGO brick of the universe if you will.

But theologians, intrinsically centered on the truth above all (one should at least suppose), on the secrets of God, seem to this day better off on their own, a one man job in a lonely study. At of course contradicting from this very limited point of view more or less most of other somehow similar (at best!) limited results.

The big mistake many theologians seem fall into is simply this: Since they are dealing with the inspired word of God, they think their interpretations must be more or less inspired and therefore sort of infallible too. But if we just look back in history: When e.g. Galilei presented his thesis about the earth revolving around the sun, not even one theologian of his time supported him (maybe some rather would have but did not dare). With the Bible at hand they all got it wrong. A point to ponder, right? Why does the Bible state, that the truth is revealed to the Church as a whole? I really dothink that the time of the Apostles to whom some truths were directly revealed is over.

A Christian German publisher recently told me on the phone, that the German book market is so to speak "dead" as far as prophecy is concerned after the big hype some 40 years ago that got started with Hal Lindsey's interpretations of the EU then formed from 10 nations. A lot of German theologians tuned in and got it all wrong. Nowadays German Christian publishers do not dare "to lean out of the window" again.

Also I'm in contact with a German Christian blogger who tried to get some German end-time buffs around one table but failed, because a considerable majority of them even refuse to talk to the others in this small circle... what a sad picture!

You know what? The most frightening aspect of Jesus' return for me is this: Out of the ten virgins five are left behind, because they were sleeping. Maybe, because the got tired and fell asleep while filing through their endless pile of end-time books?

Could be? What do you think? Or, if being part of the "theology club" yourself, what do you intend to do about it? WHEN WILL YOU START TO REALLY GET TOGETHER AND FINISH YOUR JOB, as the end of days is approaching fast? And maybe get a in-dept conference of theologians on end-time prophecy started – beyond and above all trenches?

So, do you really intend to leave us laymen out in the dark, baaing in confusion? "Baa, baa!"

Swiss layman Michael

Michael Stenger (60) has worked more than a decade as editor-in-chief of a Swiss Christian publishing house. He further did a weekly Christian broadcast on a Swiss private radio station and  was a journalist and freelance writer for various periodicals. Currently he is working on a novel about the end-times.

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