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216. Why Do Christians Fight Over End-Times Prophecies? | E. Stephen Burnett vs Zackary Russell

Christians love to wield charts, create thrillers, and debate our doom, so naturally that’s how we will start our new series: Left Behind Legacy.
Fantastical Truth on Jun 11, 2024 · Series: · No comments

It’s the end! It’s the end! Or rather, this could only be… the beginning. Sure, it’s cliché to doomsay, but Christians have enjoyed doing this for centuries. So, next week, Stephen and Zack want in on this end-times debating action. This will be a knock-down, drag-out, facts-and-feelings fight that will divide denominations and result in a lot of colorful, complex charts—or maybe it’ll just be some slightly heated fun to start our new series: Left Behind Legacy.

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Mission update

Concession stand

  • Some prophecy views are older than others; they may be right or wrong.
  • For whatever His reasons, God has let the Church debate about this.
  • “It’s a prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition.”
  • Perhaps the Lord felt we needed less-clear doctrines to keep us busy.
  • To some extent, we’ve “lived in the end times” since the New Testament.
  • So when people say “We in Revelations,” yes, correct. Always have been.
  • (By the way: it’s Revelation, not Revelations. Violators of this are heretics.)
  • Yes, we’re aware that some end-times views are used to support evil ideas.
  • End-times topics are great for discussion-starters with non-Christians.

Quotes and notes

1. What do Christians think about the end times?

  • Off the top of our heads, and with re-research, here are the basic ones.
  • Premillennial, Jesus returns before a literal 1,000-year reign in Earth.
    • Classic pre-millennial, which skips a literal period of Tribulation
    • Dispensational pre-millennial, which includes a literal Tribulation
      • Pre-tribulation: a “Rapture” event before the Tribulation
      • Mid-tribulation: a “Rapture” event in the middle of Tribulation
      • Post-tribulation: a single (“Rapture”?) event when Jesus returns
  • Amillennial: less clear about Tribulation, but millennial reign is figurative
    • Some also believe many prophecies are fulfilled across history
  • Postmillennial: Jesus returns after a literal 1,000-year peacetime on Earth
    • Can include some beliefs of “preterism” about AD 70 fulfillment
    • Orthodox version still anticipates Jesus’s real physical return in future

2. Zack vs. Stephen—a battle to the end (times)

  • Zack’s position: Dispensational-ish premillennial with a post-trib variant
  • Stephen’s position: Uncertain, maybe amillennial, but keeping Tribulation
  • Left Behind’s position: Dispensational pre-millennial with pretrib variant

3. Where all great Christians can agree and hope

  • Jesus is returning, in the future, at a time that no one can predict.
  • We should look forward to, not dread, His return, and take comfort.
  • Generally life conditions will get worse right before He finally arrives.
  • God may allow this uncertainty to help keep us from bigger issues.
  • Christians of good will and gospel hearts have accepted all these views.
  • Instead of risking idolizing our position, we can have fun debating them.
  • Whenever He finally does return, there will be surprises enough for all!
  • No matter your view, the Left Behind series is actually kind of awesome.

Com station

  • What’s your position on the end times, in the past or present?

Peter Van Kauwenbergh commented on Episode 37 on YouTube:

Basically it boils down to there is practicing the occult in real life and fictional magic in a story. In a story it is just that, a story.

Next on Fantastical Truth

The year is 1995. A new creative power has arisen, partnering a Christian marriage/prophecy teacher with a “journeyman” author of fiction and sports biographies. They forged a Christian thriller juggernaut that later hit The New York Times bestseller list and started conversations about the world’s ending. Dan Balow, former marketing director of Tyndale House Publishers, helps us explore how the Left Behind series became such a blockbuster?

Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

Lorehaven explores fantastical stories for God's glory: fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond.

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    In the Fantastical Truth podcast from Lorehaven, hosts E. Stephen Burnett and Zackary Russell explore fantastical stories for God's glory and apply their wonders to the real world Jesus calls us to serve.

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