Sunday, March 18, 2007

Heresy of the Fleming,

A Short History on the Heresy of The Rapture

By Eileen Fleming

"Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."-Luke 23:34

In 1891, Christian fundamentalist and lay-preacher, William Blackstone appealed to President Benjamin Harrison to help establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Blackstone was a disciple of Dwight L. Moody and they both were influenced by the father of premillenial dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby.
William Blackstone published his dispensationalist manifesto, Jesus Is Coming, in 1878.

"The belief system of rapturists allows them to take a certain comfort in the face of evil. For when things really deteriorate into chaos, they expect to be safely tucked away in Heaven. There is a problem with this approach to life, however. It may comfort the person witnessing suffering, but it does absolutely nothing positive for the person experiencing the suffering. This theology is appealing only as long as the pain is someone else's." David B. Currie, Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind.

As Jesus instructed his disciples [followers] to GO OUT into the world, and never promised an escape from pain and suffering, the essence of escapism is heretical Christianity. Currie warned in his book, "Quite simply, the rapturist system contains no Cross."

However, Darby had great success in connecting with the post-Civil War survivors and was able to transmit his heretical theology of escapism into the heartland of America.

Despite the horrifying news of Czarist pogroms that could have been the catalyst to establishing a Jewish state before the Holocaust, the Christian fundamentalists moved onto the Scopes Trial and forgot about the Jews for a while.

But only after six million innocents were cold bloodedly murdered because good people did nothing for a very long while-and only after the British Mandate ran out, Israel was born.

Most evangelicals interpreted the establishment of Israel to be the fulfillment of -how they understood and interpreted- certain prophetic scriptures. They interpreted the Israeli victory in the 1967 War and the capture of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights to be an act of God and never considered the fact of Israeli superior military might and USA Intelligence.

The American Bi-Centennial in 1976 was a watershed year for the religious right. While mainline churches declined evangelical fundamentalist churches became the fastest growing sector of American Christianity. TIME magazine named 1976 as The Year of The Evangelical and suddenly they became a legitimate political and religious force.

Following the War of 1967, Israel gained an increased portion of USA foreign aid and military budgets, becoming the ‘western pillar’ of the USA strategic alliance against Soviet incursion into the Middle East...During this period AIPAC and other pro-Israeli lobby agencies began their ascent to power in shaping USA foreign policy. The Roman Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations began to develop a more balanced approach to the Middle East, bringing them closer to the international consensus on the Palestinian question. Pro-Israel organizations interpreted this shift as being Anti-Israel and in turn began to court the conservative Christians.

In 1977, when President Carter stated “The Palestinians deserve a right to their homeland,” the Christian fundamentalists and Israeli lobby responded with full page ads stating: “The time has come for evangelical Christians to affirm their belief in biblical prophecy and Israel’s divine right to the land...and affirm our belief in the Promised Land to the Jewish people.”

The Reagan White House hosted a series of seminars from the Israeli lobby and Christian right. This was when Hal Lindsay, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the Moral majority infiltrated the West Wing. Falwell received a Lear Jet from the Israeli government for his personal travel...When Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant in 1981, Prime Minister Begin called Jerry Falwell -before he called Reagan- to ask him ‘to explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombings. In 1996, Netanyahu and Likud ideology dominated Israeli policy and 17 evangelical USA pastors pledged their support of the illegal colonies in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and full support for a Jerusalem under sovereignty of Israel.

The Christian Zionists launched a PR campaign under the banner: “Christians Call for a United Jerusalem.” They ignored the fact that they were in conflict with American policy and the Oslo process as well as a direct attack on Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant unity with the Churches for Middle East Peace that called for a Shared Jerusalem.

“The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty,” Hagee wrote in 2006, in the Pentecostal magazine Charisma. “Israel and America must confront Iran’s nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide.”

The theology of the judgemental and escapist fictional Left Behind series is the epitome of the spirit of the anti-Christ: which is the evil within ones own heart leads one to fear “the other” and compels them to violence.

The gospel is, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no FEAR in love, perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment! and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."- 1 John 4:1618 and John 8:32

Thomas Jefferson did America, Christianity and the world a great service when he penned The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth which illuminates just how far these Christians have strayed from the message Christ delivered and modeled with his life: which was consistently compassionate and nonviolent. That justice comes from virtue which comes from the heart. That we are to treat people the way we want to be treated. To always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with COMPASSION. To consider valuable the things that have no material value. Do not judge others, do not bear grudges, be modest and unpretentious. To give out of true generosity, not because we expect to be repaid and that being true to ones self is more important than being loyal to ones family, and those who think they know the most are the most ignorant.

According to Christ, to be his follower, one must do what the Father requires. The Hebrew prophet Micah summed it up best: “What does the Lord require? He has already told you o’man: Be Just, Be Merciful and walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8:

To be just is to be fair and reasonable. To be merciful means to treat all people the way we want to be treated.

To be humble is knowing oneself; the good and the evil, for both cut through every human heart.

Christ taught that the only way to resist evil is with good and he modeled that one must always work for peaceful resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness.

Jesus did just that, even after being mocked, whipped and nailed to a cross for he prayed: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”-Luke 23:34

copied from web, March 18, source OpEd News