Unnecessary Division between Us

GendronI’ve subscribed to Mike Gendron’s “Proclaiming the Gospel” email newsletter for years, until today. Mike is an ex-Roman Catholic with a focus on evangelizing his ex-brethren, and his teachings are pointed, clear, and helpful in preparing to witness to Romanists.

Although I always knew Mike to be a Dispensationalist, I looked past it to learn other things from him, as I do with excellent men like John MacArthur and others. On April 1 of this year, Mike sent out a short article in his newsletter, reposted here:

The Bible is a glorious revelation of God that includes His creation, His plan of redemption for His people, the conflict between two kingdoms, and His intention to restore the earth to its original condition that existed before the fall. Throughout church history, the Bible has been interpreted in different ways, but this is not because the Scriptures are lacking in clarity. Some factors that may cause people to interpret the Bible differently include: using an improper hermeneutic, reading into the Scriptures what it does not say, following personalities and traditions instead of testing everything with Scripture, and elevating human reason and experience above the authority of God’s Word. The Word of God can be best understood when it is read in a literal, normal, and plain sense. A normal reading of Scripture is synonymous with a consistent literal, grammatical, historical hermeneutic.

Throughout church history, all areas of Biblical doctrine have been studied, recognized, and accepted. In the first two centuries, the doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible and the canon of Scripture were recognized and affirmed. Later, in the third and fourth centuries, it was the study of Christology which dealt with the human and divine nature of Jesus. In the 16th century, the Reformers dealt with soteriology, the doctrine of justification. Now, the doctrine of eschatology, which is the study of the end times, appears to be a central focus of study and conversation.

Tragically, many of today’s evangelicals, who embrace the biblical soteriology of the Reformers, are also embracing a Roman Catholic eschatology that the Reformers never challenged. Using an allegorical approach to eschatology, Roman Catholicism rejects all the prophecies and covenants that declare Jesus will have a literal, physical reign on the earth from the throne of David. This amillennial view regards the “thousand years,” which is mentioned six times in Revelation 20:1-6, as symbolic. They say it has already begun and is identical with the church age, with Christ reigning as King in the hearts of His people.

It is difficult to understand why evangelicals would allegorize the Scriptures that clearly teach a physical, earthly reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on the throne of David (Luke 1:32). Why would they deny the glorious reign of King Jesus who will be sent by His Father to restore and refresh the earth to its pre-fall condition? (Acts 3:19-26; 2 Sam. 7:12-17; Dan. 2:44). The kingdom of Jesus will have blessings that have never been seen before, including peace and righteousness (Isaiah 2:4, 11:3-4, 32:1,17, 65:21-22, Zech. 8:4-5), good health, and long life (Isaiah 35:5,6, 65:20), the removal of the divine curse on the earth due to the sin of man (Romans 8:18-23), and a restored earth which will produce an abundance of food (Joel3:18, Amos 9:13, Psalm 72:16, Zech. 8:12, Isaiah 35:1, Ezekiel 36:34-35). Also in this amazing Kingdom, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:9).
The Millennium is the fulfillment of God’s purpose in glorifying His exalted Son. All of His redeemed saints and all the nations of the world will worship and praise Him for being the King of kings! “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it” (Psalm 22:27-31).

 

I immediately responded with this email:

Hello brother Mike,

I’m a longtime subscriber to your e-newsletter, and have been blessed by your bold witness and apologetic. Long story short, I grew up dispensationalist, was trained in it, and taught it as truth for years. I became amillennialist a few years ago through being confronted by a more consistent hermeneutic.

I am not writing to debate the Scriptures with you, unless you felt the need to do so. Rather, I wanted to make a comment and ask a question.

1) You equate amillennialism with Roman Catholicism, as if to hold the former is to capitulate to the latter. This is the genetic fallacy, and could be equally applied to dispensationalism using any number of its wild-eyed fundamentalist, Arminian exponents. I suggest you rethink this guilt-by-association tactic. For example, are the both of us guilty of association with RC doctrine because we hold to the trinity? Of course not – the argument is to what is biblical, not whether or not Rome holds to something that happens to resemble biblical doctrine.

I do hope you concede this point, regardless of your feelings about our eschatology.

2) Question – and this is honest to goodness my curiosity, NOT a gotcha. Have you read any theologians/pastors who argue exegetically for the amillennial position? If so, please tell me whom, and also, if you have a moment, please write back with a brief, fair representation of amillennialism. If you do indeed have a fair understanding of it, I will be sure to take your critique more seriously.

Many thanks, and grace to you –
Adam Kane

 

I heard nothing back to date. (Update 7/4/16 – Mike has responded to a new email I sent him to alert him to this blog post, and to my earlier April 1 message to him. We are corresponding presently, and I am hoping for a measure of understanding between us).

Then today I read his most recent newsletter, and caught this reader letter nestled in the bottom of it:

Dear Mike, It is a strange thing how widespread the denial of the Rapture and the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth is among professing ‘Bible-believing’ Christians today. The denial of the 1000 year reign is the basis for Dominion theology, that somehow we are already in that time period and Jesus is “reigning from heaven” and will return only when the Church has prevailed on earth. One has to be either blind or crazy, or both, to imagine that Satan is bound right now. I have heard teachers twist scriptures in the most incredible, ridiculous way to try and justify this theory. It is shameful. I think ultimately it all comes from the Vatican through their infiltration and corruption of the Protestant seminaries and Bible colleges for the past 200 years. I appreciate your faithfulness to the word of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. I have not been able to find a church in my area that is not ecumenical. So I just meet with a few friends in homes and watch doctrinally sound Bible teachers on the internet ( like yourself) and I give out tracts when I go out shopping. Blessings, L.B., Rockport, TX

 

Well, I knew it was time to unsubscribe right then.

It is shameful and puerile to equate amillennialism with Roman Catholicism, but it is downright divisive and foul to print an ignorant letter calling a brother like myself “blind or crazy.” This is the problem over here on this side of the Tiber (that means non-Roman Catholic Christianity). Here is a zealous brother with a good apologetics ministry who has unfortunately fumbled his gun and fired into his hometown stands.

Little does he (and L.B. from Rockport, TX) realize that the amillenial perspective goes back in church history in parallel to the historic premillenial position. A good historical case can be made for either, but it is this Dispensationalism that is the 160-year-old new kid on the block, and in my humble opinion, a destructive cancer inside many brothers’ otherwise sound theology.

I don’t care to go into a detailed critique of D’ism, but I would love for each of my readers to ponder the unnecessary division that has today been suffered in an already ravaged American Protestant, Reformation family.

Thanks, Mike Gendron, for firing your gun into the stands, and for refusing to at least represent your brothers and sisters correctly, and no thanks.

  • Adam Kane
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5 thoughts on “Unnecessary Division between Us

  1. This actually makes me sad, Adam. But of course I understand your position, I’m premill, best to leave it at that since there is absolutely no no no way I would try to debate you on anything dear brother 🙂 however, it makes me sad because it just seems that in many areas in these turbulent days we are seeing more and more dissension within His church and some of it unkind, as you point out. Not meant as a criticism at all, I hope you understand, just an observation of the times we are living in awaiting the return of our Lord. God bless as always , your sister in Christ, Linda

  2. I’m sad too, Linda. There are many people in my beloved local church who are Dispensationalist, and we are able to fellowship very closely. That’s why I’m calling out brother Gendron for unnecessary division in these newsletters. We need to show more care and consideration for one another.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Hi Adam, me again 🙂 Been bugged because my premill views don’t include dispensationalism, so had to go back, think and see where it fell into premill. Ah…historic premill yes, but not ‘futurist premill’ as I was taught by JMac. in exegesis but also pg. 312,chart “Because the time is near’ taken from Paul Benware, “Understanding end time prophecy”. Now I feel better having reread and explained myself. Blessings again as always dear brother

  4. Pingback: A Frustrating Conclusion | Citizen of New Jerusalem

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