Category Archives: Christ

Book review: I Am Not Afraid by Robert H. Bennett

Dr Robert Bennett

Rev. Dr. Robert H. Bennett

We have reached a stage in the history of American Christianity where missionaries from other parts of the world need to be sent here to remind us of the things we have cast aside.

That’s the takeaway from the scholarly look at the rite of exorcism in I Am Not Afraid: Demon Possession and Spiritual Warfare by Rev. Dr. Robert H. Bennett, a pastor in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

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One New Man

fishsymbolThere hasn’t been much activity here at the blog lately because most of my writing has been focused on a new project.  I’ve submitted the first draft of a chapter that will be included in a forthcoming anthology, and now I’m in the middle of converting it into a presentation for the Orlando Prophecy Summit in March.

The more I look at the topic, which examines the appeal of Dominion Theology to conservative Christians, the more I believe I need to flesh it out into a full book.

While writing the chapter, I stumbled across a teaching that seems to be gaining popularity in some circles, particularly among Christian Zionists, Messianic Jews (and the Hebrew Roots subculture), and especially the apostolic-prophetic movement, also referred to as the New Apostolic Reformation.

The NAR seems to be fascinated with Israel, and it appears that the “One New Man” doctrine is why.  It’s based on an interpretation of Ephesians 2 that follows a pattern for teachers in the NAR, who tend to view literal verses symbolically and symbolic verses literally.

When Paul wrote that Jews and Gentiles are formed into “one new man” in Christ, he was imprisoned in Rome, falsely accused of bringing a Gentile into the Temple in Jerusalem.  He was making a point to the predominantly Gentile believers in Ephesus that Christ had removed the wall of hostility that existed between Jew and Gentile, affording all believers, regardless of ancestry, direct access to God the Father.

To the NAR, however, it appears that these verses are taken as prophecy, referring to some future time when Jews and Christians are molded into a new body of believers, neither Christian nor Jew, that will inherit the land promised to Abraham.  This is problematic in the current political climate because that would include not only the Palestinian territories but a big chunk of land from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to Syria, Iraq, and southern Turkey.

Furthermore, the end of the chapter, verses 19-22, is interpreted to mean something very different from what Paul intended.  He wrote:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Rather than understanding Paul’s point, that we are all one in Christ, the Dominionists of the NAR take the final verse to mean that when Christ returns, He will literally incarnate inside this One New Man — a “dwelling place for God’.

If I have my head around this, One New Man is Joel’s Army, the Many-Membered Man Child — the Manifest Sons of God heresy from the old Latter Rain movement of the ’40s and ’50s repackaged for the 21st century.

More on this as I do more digging.

Once More, With Restraint

While we were at the Prophecy Summit at Pikes Peak, I posted a short note about the wonderful group of people that were in attendance.  I meant it; the sense I got from the people I spoke to was that they were intelligent and hungry for answers they aren’t getting at their home church.

That’s not surprising, nor is it a condemnation of churches in general.  Discussions of the UFO phenomenon alongside Bible prophecy just don’t happen in America today (except, of course, on the History Channel).

Anyway, my point is this:  Instead of leaving well enough alone, I concluded my piece with a snarky jibe at a group that registered for the conference specifically to confront some of the speakers.  It was not done in a spirit of Christian fellowship, and I am sorry.

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Glad to Be Home

Prophecy SummitSharon and I finally made it back from the Prophecy Summit at Pikes Peak about two hours ago. What a great weekend! Sharon’s presentations on genetics and how researchers are actively trying “hack the ladder” (modify DNA, or create artificial DNA — what could possibly go wrong?) were very well received.  People are beginning to learn what I’ve known for 16 years — that Sharon Gilbert is the smartest person I know.

My talk went well enough, although I realize now that it would have had more impact if I’d cut it down by about half an hour.  People eager to hear Russ Dizdar, who followed me in that breakout room, started filing in and searching for seats before I was done.  One man walked in front of the camera and asked, “When is this guy going to finish?” — or something to that effect.  I hope the guys can take that out in post.

But that was no big deal.  The rest of the weekend, I had the best job at the conference: Interviewing as many of the speakers as I could fit into two and a half days.  I haven’t checked the count, but I believe I recorded video sessions with 26 or 27 out of 30.

The audio from those sessions will appear as interviews on A View From the Bunker over the next few months.  Two are already online — an interview with Sharon on her field of expertise, and a round table discussion with Ken Johnson, Doug Hamp, and Cris Putnam.  Check them out at www.vftb.net.