Kingdom Exclusion, Millennial Exclusion
(November 5, 2008)
Protestant Purgatory, Open Theism,
Inclusivism & Annihilationism:
As far back as the early '80's, I first heard the teachings of Kingdom Exclusion, Millennial Exclusion, the overcomers, the Bride of Christ being a subset of the whole Body or Church of Christ, partial Rapture, outer darkness and all that . . .
I sat on it nearly 25 years and let it "gel" so to speak. I kept it a secret to myself essentially and did not broadcast it, evangelize it -- making it merely a thing in my psyche with no outworkings. I did learn to worship the Lord in a newness of Spirit in the freedom of non-traditional house church gatherings. We were a fledgling flock of believers coming together out of many denominations and churchianity so-called. Those were amazing times that spoiled me. Tasting of the Lord's mighty and tender presence among the saints as we loved Him in song, testimony, Bible reading, prophetic word and teaching was without comparison to anything I ever had known in the Baptist sect. The fellowship on the day we met and scattered during the week was wonderfully enriching.
Things changed for the worse due to bad decisions some of us made and eventually our desire for a "King Saul" diluted and muffled the Lord's freeing work among us. Some within believed we needed more solid teaching and guidance by an elder. Bad, bad, bad idea. Painfully so, many, including my family, left as God so spoke to us to do so. Later on, in a reformed gathering, came a "Lone Ranger for God" who seemed to lack the faith that vision of God among us being fully able to grow us up. So, he decided he could be the the "teacher" among us. His teaching and self-proclaimed ministry among us created confusion and concern. His aberrant behavior worsened. Actions were taken. But then again, our small gathering disbanded, flew apart and spread out into various paths. That local testimony of the Lord was now gone.
So all these years later, children grown, married and finishing college, the Lord is calling back to take a fresh look at things. I have reconnected with a handful of those saints and I have begun anew listening to the heart of the Lord for these days and this man. I have gotten back in touch with brothers like Stephen Kaung, Hosea Wu, Lance Lambert, and others of the Watchman Nee clan. I am reading about and discovering that the house church, the organic church is alive and growing. These 25 years have not ended that movement but have served to let many others hear the call to "come out" of churchianity.
The strange thing I am also discovering is that when reading certain believers' blogs, books, watching YouTube debates, and even researching the footnotes -- I am finding many odd teachings are somehow loosely interconnected. When researching Broadbent's The Pilgrim Church, studying 1st-century Christianity, Church history and during my own Bible study -- many things formerly unknown were overlapping. When looking into the believer's authority in Christ, I came across the trinitarian warfare worldview theodicy of Boyd. I devoured his two books; God At War and Satan and the Problem of Evil. In this open theism studying, I then came across Fudge's The Fire That Consumes espousing annihilationism, (the concept that God does not torment people in the Lake of Fire but instead destroys them from existence . . .), and this then lead me to Sanders' No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized and his ideas of Inclusivism, (the unevangelized are not auto-damned). Many of these controversial topics have been tossed about for decades but the mainline churches never even mentioned such. Now, every time I research outer darkness, church history, overcomer theory, millennnial exclusion and the like -- I find that some refreshingly "fringe" ideas are being embraced by free-thinking and fearless theologians and evangelists. This is fascinating! Within a mere 3-month period, the Lord has allowed me to see His nature, His love, His creation, His way of dealing with Man, in a whole new light. Something glorious and new is being birthed among God's people.
We are tired of certain moldering traditions and millennia-olde traditions smothering us. God has promised that He is doing a NEW thing. Since the bold and revolutionary ideas of Jesus and then the 1st-century Church, God has been trying to free us from religion and its danger in our lives. I see that even now, He is still shaking things. Judgment has come to His own church and the shaking is fierce. Some will cling to olde ways of doing things but the fearless and the bold will stand apart and follow their heart. Condsider that in Revelation, when Jesus speaks to the church of the Laodiceans, God is speaking to each man and woman's heart, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." This verse has Jesus on the outside of that church, luke-warm religion's door. It is time we open up to this rebel King and Lord. He is seeking overcoming faith and not "sit-on-your-laurels" comfortably numb, easy-believism junkies!
Nagging preached ideas that bothered me in the Bible, certain teachings that seemed to make God out as cold and heartless, and other confusing themes from as far back as the mid-70s, are at last finally being resolved. Open theism, warfare worldview theodicy, inclusivism, overcomer theory, home or organic church, and even annihilationism, (even Boyd's alternate views on this), are all presenting a freeing mindset for many to investigate and take a fresh new look at the Bible, at Jesus, at Church life and at God the Father. Even the real story of the Lord's salvation for us being but a tool itself to bring into fruition a more glorious Eternal Purpose of God is so illuminating. Though the churches may teach that it is "all about us" and God being "all about us" -- we are finally seeing it has been and will be "all about Him" as it was from the ageless past.
And now some final thoughts from a blog where I posted comments . . .
"I read through much of the previous comments and saw that no mention was made (relating to sanctification) about the Bride in Revelation 19.
6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
8Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
9Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
The Bride of Christ makes herself ready. Now this is NOT salvation by works. It is an obedience, a cooperation via grace and the Spirit, to let God work His will and let His Kingdom come — in your heart. God is a God of persuasion and not coercion. He saves us to serve. If we do not cooperate with His Spirit, do not lay our own lives down to His sanctifying Lordship now, in this life, then the Lord will not see us as ready. Christ will never force this daily dieing upon us. We are his children yes, by salvation, but sonship, (as understood in the times of Jesus), involved cooperation and reaching a maturity. Then and only when a child was READY did they attain the rights and inheritance of being a son. Sure, a child could refuse the disciplines, refuse the “work” after being born, and stay immature and not be ready. That is free will that God ordains. But as the Bride must make herself ready, believers in the Body of Christ, the saved ones of His Church, have the chance to inherit the joys of being the Bride, of within this life gaining full sonship versus remaining carnal babes. When the Lord “calls time” and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and His Bride has come forth, sadly so, many of the Church will NOT be ready. The Bride is not the Church! The Bride is a ready first-fruit of overcomers from all history. Jesus Christ is the Prize and his Millennial Kingdom is the destiny of His Bride who is ready to rule and reign in Love and Power. Those not ready when the Bride is called up must face the facts. This is a sobering reality that churchianity will NEVER accept because it exposes our blindness, nakedness, and wretched poverty of true acts of righteousness."
"TWIMC: One of the ways I “connect the dots” on a teaching/concept/revealed truth as supported by verses (dots) — is to pull a ways back from having my mental nose buried in the text too much and then look for overall themes, a summary, the audience intended, and context within a passage, the whole chapter, the whole epistle and ultimately the whole of scripture. As stated above, 99% of what church doctrine we cherish today is merely “connect the dots” and then we state what the dots indicate. I urge you to read (Charles J. Wilhelm's) Biblical Dyslexia on a good approach to reading the scriptures. I have in the past asked the Lord, the living Word to show me things from the written word that support a teaching and He is faithful. It may take longer than I like but sometimes He has to break our prideful intellects first. Anyway, I try to divorce my doctrines-in-a-box, fundamentalist-legalistic background training out of my mind, as well as quieting that knee-jerk, well-worn, know-it-all prideful flesh from overuling “that still small voice of the Lord” and wait on Him to open things up via REVELATION. That is the ONLY way that really matters when it comes to absorbing scripture and gaining its LIFE. Knowledge so-called and puffed-up brain power is so much fancy-flavored popcorn when it comes up against REVELATION. Once the Lord Himself opens up a truth, NOTHING can shake it. All the other junk we so cherished before REVELATION then falls over on its face and our blinded idolatry to doctrines and schemata of man & traditional paradigms is cast aside as me walk on. And then . . . You may find yourself in hard straits to explain it to others as it is only revealed by Spirit to our spirit and THEN the mind-soul-intellect comes along being renewed and transformed. Yeah, I know, this is a catch-22, cop-out, no real help scenario here — but I urge you to do this simple thing.
Ask God your Father, not Google, not blogs or books but ask the Lord of the Kingdom to reveal His Eternal Plan, the Prize of His Son, (what Paul was seeking to gain in his pressing on to the high-calling), the Bride making herself ready and forget trying to mentally lasso all this KE/ME hooplah database. It is too confusing and disturbing w/o His Spirit to guide you.
Consider this: understanding or explaining the KE/ME/Overcomer Theory 100% and having every scripture perfectly in line to support this “mystery” of firstfruits, the out-resurrection, outer darkness and
all the assorted buzz words will NOT prove it to a skeptic. Only REVELATION of
this truth of free grace, rewards theology and a conditional walk to the Throne
of Christ will help.
Set aside all you THINK you KNOW to be true and trust the Spirit to guide your way. No man can convince you and I wouldn’t want anyone to trust what I say as I have been wrong or off before. This is just where I am with Jesus today. And this hope, this new view of the kingdom is more transformative than ANYTHING I have come to understand thus far.
God bless your search."