END TIMES: NOT YET

(UPDATE: Please don't read this post without reading Chris [deleted]'s comment below as well.)

I read the following over on [deleted]:

Christians are wasting precious time away by arguing with ungodly people over godly things. ...don't waste precious time arguing with those who mock and ridicule you for your faith. ...
So don't think that you are doing God a favor by arguing with them. God knows who belongs to Him; and He doesn't need us to push people into the truth through cunning argumentation. He can and will get the job done on His own; and the task won't be accomplished by force, but only by love! So don't argue with mockers! You may think that you are doing a good thing thereby, but you are actually being disobedient to Jesus Christ who said,

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." (Matthew 7:6 NKJV)"

I didn't leave a comment. It was late. I may yet.

I CAME TO DIVIDE

I don't completely disagree with that post. There's plenty that's good in it. However, Jesus argued with them (the mockers). He went right in where they were, and he spoke in ways that was sure to raise an argument. He came not to bring peace but to divide. He came to expose. He came to make the contrast stark.

SWAYED BY ARGUMENTATION

Also, many people were and are genuinely swayed by the argumentation (I was and am), even though Jesus often makes extremely short work of it. There's nothing wrong with that. He is concise for those who bother to ask, seek, and knock. He's a riddle to those who don't have it in them, can't bring themselves to delve into it.

"CUNNING" IS LOADED

Furthermore, the term "cunning" is loaded.

HE DID IT: HE CAST THE PEARLS

As for the scripture about the swine, Jesus did it. It isn't for the faint at heart is the message. He cast the pearls, and they did turn and murder him for it. That's the context. He said they'd murder his followers too for doing it.

This is not the only sense-meaning or valid interpretation of the saying though. Jesus did speak in multiple contexts at the same time afterall. That's fundamental knowledge for Christianity, and I don't care if they murder me for it. They'd be making me a martyr for Christ. What an honor! I might sweat blood too, but it would still be an honor — strange thinking no doubt to the naysayers who don't really want to know but rather avoid the implications hoping they'll be let off for ignorance. They won't. They'll get their stripes.

If we follow the advice of Chris on [deleted], we'd be rebuking Jesus for arguing with them and being "cunning." What Jesus is not is deceptive, affected, or contrived. I'm positive Chris isn't saying that he is. We must be sure that we aren't allowing that usage (connotation) of the term cunning to do a psychological number on people.

WE MUST SPEAK TRUTH FOR THE SAKE OF THE MANY

If we don't call the liars on their lies about war and money and torture and all the rest of their abject sins, if we don't refute their distortions of scripture, many people will be left in the dark who would be otherwise spared, at least spared from the particular errors we manage to see and to expose and they to grasp.

There is a limit of course. One needs to feel the spirit as to where to stop. I take it that Chris means it that way to some degree.

AN END

He thinks we're closer to the "end" than we are. We are nearing (relatively speaking, of necessity) the end of an age. Historicism is at work, always. There is a progression. There is cause and effect.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

It is true that ends come as Jesus said, as a thief in the night. That's for those who aren't watching. However, for the rest of us (few there be that find it), we read the signs of the times as we read the weather.

NOT YET

The signs do not point to the end as being soon yet. Many things that must happen first have not happened. We aren't even close in the collective sense. Individuals though, that's a different matter.

MICROCOSMIC

One must always view scripture and prophecy on a microcosmic level while also viewing it on the macrocosmic level. Each individual life, each soul, has an end of sorts that is not irrelevant when discussing the "End Times" as the Fundamentalists and Dispensationalists and others mean by the term. Lives are called right in the middle of being selfish, greedy, violent, depraved or their opposites: Consistently unselfish, giving, sharing, pacifistic, harmless, beneficial, repentant, and atoning. For those lives, it is the "end." Life or death, light or darkness, goes on though in the hereafter. Exactly how it is, no person living in the flesh on this Earth can say. He or she can only approximate and somewhat surmise at best.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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    • Chris [deleted]

      The following is clearly a misunderstanding of what I meant:

      "If we follow the advice of Chris on [deleted], we'd be rebuking Jesus for arguing with them and being "cunning." What Jesus is not is deceptive, affected, or contrived. I'm positive Chris isn't saying that he is. We must be sure that we aren't allowing that usage (connotation) of the term cunning to do a psychological number on people."

      I was speaking within the context of arguing with mockers who will take what you have to say about God and throw it back at you with malice.

      Such people are to be addressed and thereby witnessed to, and even rebuked if need be; however, to sit there and argue with them for hours over what you say they ought to believe when they are clearly giving you the message that they don't want it, is to not only waste valuable time, but also to give the impression that you are trying to shove the truth down their throat.

      Moreover, it is important to note that Jesus answered the questions of and rebuked those who sought to use the truth as a means to ensnare Him; but He did not sit there and argue with them for hours over semantics and phraseology. Indeed, there is a place for Apologetics; but there is also an appropriate time for it too, as well as a right and wrong way to practice it.

      Finally, what I meant by 'cunning argumentation' is that there is a tendency to debate with others in a spirit that is not of the Lord. In other words, sometimes Christians answer fools according to their folly and thereby make fools of themselves.

      Therefore, we must not rely on our own intellect when endeavoring to witness to others; rather, we must allow both our thoughts and words to be in complete dependence on what the Spirit moves us to say. Hence, 'self' must not take precedence over the Spirit; rather, the Spirit must take the lead in all things. In this way, we will avoid becoming a stumbling block to others and properly reflect the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.

      I hope this clears things up for you.

      Sincerely,
      --Chris [deleted]

    • Chris,

      I added a little update notice at the beginning of the post too to encourage people to read your clarifying comment.

      Thanks again.

    • @[deleted] -

      Hello Chris,

      Thank you for your clarification. Of course, I too don't want to be misunderstood and will take the opportunity now to further clarify.

      When I wrote, "If we follow the advice of Chris on [deleted], we'd be rebuking Jesus for arguing with them and being 'cunning.' What Jesus is not is deceptive, affected, or contrived. I'm positive Chris isn't saying that he is. We must be sure that we aren't allowing that usage (connotation) of the term cunning to do a psychological number on people."

      What I meant was if we were to follow your advice without the clear qualifying aspects you've now supplied. I'm sure you understand that my concern was with people running with it with only partial understanding, meaning people taking your admonition as being against all argumentation with unbelievers and even mockers.

      I hope you see this give and take process as a good thing. I do.

      I agree with your clarified position in total. My post was written with that in mind. There is definitely a point where further discussion becomes an obvious waste of time. I've told people that I wouldn't continue the conversation (comment thread) on this site on account of it. I wouldn't be surprised if you've done the same thing for the same reason or at least considered doing it.

      You are absolutely right that Jesus did not sit there arguing in futility. We must not lose sight of the fact though that as the Gospel story progresses, we see Jesus speaking less and less in parables to those closest to him and we hear him speak more and more plainly and directly to those who were conspiring against him. In addition, he said that the Holy Spirit would come and make things clear.

      We aren't charged with teaching solely in parables for instance. Some of Jesus's parables directly about the Pharisees standing around were fairly long by today's short-attention-span standards too. He'd be booed half way through some of them today. As the old saying goes, times change even while they stay the same.

      I like your reply. It's open, honest, and direct. Although, I'm concerned you were offended. I hope you were not. If you were, please understand that it was not my intention to offend but to illicit the very clarification you rendered.

      God bless,

      Tom Usher

    • Chris [deleted]

      Hi Tom,

      I can see that I misunderstood you, as I thought you took what I had said out of context.

      Thanks for clearing things up for me.

      Blessings to you,
      --Chris

    • @[deleted] -

      Hello Again, Chris,

      Thank you.

      This is what Christianity is supposed to be like. We discuss to help each other get closer to God (Godliness).

      Your brother in Christ and your flesh relative as well, really,

      Tom Usher

    • Nice ideas. Lets just hope that 2009 shapes up better than 2008 did. But I'm none too hopeful

      • Hello Rex@Tableware,

        Thank you for the comment. This year will not truly be better than last. The only thing that can really improve things is getting on the right path that is the narrow way. Anything less is deceptive. The sheep's clothing brightens in appearance for while to those who don't see through it. Then it goes dark again over and over.

        The leadership has not changed. The plutocrats, the worldly ones, still worship what they worship, which isn't God, and people still grovel to those chief priests of mammon. Make no mistake. Barack Obama is 100% in their pocket.

        By the way, Akismet anti-comment-spam treated your comment as spam. I'm not sure why. I suggest you make your comments longer and use key words used in the post perhaps. Also, "Rex Tableware" (which is a commercial brand name) in your handle is probably not a good idea. Anyway, the fact that I approved your comment has been noted by Akismet (training the program).

        Blessings to you.

        Tom Usher