Question: I recently received my first print newsletter in the mail, and one of the letters raised my eyebrows a bit. First of all, I appreciate your transparency in publishing letters that dispute or oppose you. However, in this case, my mother found it interesting and pointed out that the specific topics of dissension were edited out. I assume this was done for space constraints....The gentleman in question stated that he is a retired pastor with a Master's Degree in Pastoral Theology and has studied the Bible for 60 years, 24 of which he has spent reading the Bible cover to cover annually. His contention is that many people have taken mere theories as Biblical truth, and apparently he is including your ministry in perpetuating these false doctrines. Considering both the fruit of your ministry here at TBC and his background, I don't want to jump to conclusions either way right off the bat. What I'm very curious about is exactly what teachings of yours he is claiming to contest as falsehoods or misinterpretations. The fact that they were left out of the printed letter, and that he wishes to distance himself from you, makes me slightly uneasy. If he is the one who is mistaken, though, I can understand you not wanting to take up extra space in the newsletter detailing a pointless argument. Scores of credentials and a lifetime of study don't necessarily mean a person is infallible.
Response: We appreciate the admonition for greater clarity. As you also point out, our space is limited, in view of the large number of questions and requests we receive--we try to fit as much as we can in the space available. Because we were presenting the letter on the Letters page and not in the Q&A section, it was decided to omit all of the "objectionable doctrines," since we were not going to offer a response at that time and hoped to avoid confusion.
The letter writer listed the following as objectionable doctrines: "The Gap Theory," "the origin of Satan," the "Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory," the "acceptance of Christ by the Jews," the "earthly reign of Christ, and the millennium." In the next paragraph, the writer noted that he found "no scripture anywhere in the Bible to support any of these teachings, except the millennium."
We are a bit puzzled by these statements, as we have never promoted "the Gap Theory" and clearly have noted its unbiblical nature. Further, it is difficult to respond concerning "the origin of Satan." There are no details given to show where we might err concerning this topic.
Concerning the Pre-Trib Rapture, we stand guilty of teaching the same, and numerous Q&As and articles attest to why we consider it biblical (see Feb. 1988, July 1990, Dec. 1990, Sept. 1991, Sept. 1998, Sept. 2001, April 2008, Mar. 2009, and others). Our online radio archives also contain a number of programs in which we discuss the biblical reasons for this position.
Regarding the "acceptance of Christ by the Jews," we also are handicapped by lack of specific details. We recognize that some falsely teach that the Lord has nothing more to do with Israel. The Scriptures clearly prophesy the rejection of Christ at His first appearance (Is 53:3), and His acceptance by Israel at His triumphant return. Zechariah:12:10 tells us, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Further, Paul affirms, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Rom:11:26).
Finally, we have discussed the biblical teachings on the Millennium, most recently in the February 2010 issue of the newsletter. May the Lord encourage us with the certainty of His Word.