Ask Norm!

By Norman S. Edwards

From SVM – Spring 2015

SVM:

I strongly feel the Scriptures in John 14:12 ought to be taken more seriously by all Christians so that the Body of Christ will grow up into maturity and attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ and be ready for the soon-coming Rapture.

Jim in Singapore

Dear Jim,

We agree that we should do “greater works” than Christ did while he was on the earth because His Spirit is in us. Many Christians feel it is enough to attend church and believe the right doctrines. But verses such as John 14:12 or 15:8 tell us we need to bear fruit: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”.

Christ and the Apostles did much of their work via the miraculous power of God. But there are times, such as when poor people needed help, that they made a physical collection of food—rather than miraculously create it as Christ did with the loaves and fishes. Today, most of the works of the Church are done with human effort to earn money to buy things to help people. Numerous groups have used their own physical efforts to translate the Bible into every major language on earth and to deliver copies almost everywhere. Many Christian missions help people who are starving, sick, depressed or controlled by substance abuse. Even though much of this has been done, numerous people still have no knowledge of Christianity and a lot more good works are needed.

Unfortunately, many church denominations have spent a lot of effort trying to convince people of their understanding of Christian doctrines—as more correct than doctrines of other groups. I would classify the “rapture” as one of those disputable doctrines. The word “rapture” does not occur in most Bible translations, and in the few that use it, it is a word for “joy” found in the Old Testament—nothing to do with Christians escaping tribulation.

One should always be very careful when the common name of a doctrine is not used in the Bible. How could the apostles have believed and taught a doctrine for which they did not have a name? There is a tendency of theologians to coin a term for a doctrine and assign many verses to it, when those verses may not be related in that way. For example, the verses used to support the “rapture” doctrine talk about “protection”, “being taken”, “Christ’s appearing”, “caught up in the air” etc. But these scriptures may not be talking about the same thing.

Whereas if one looks up “resurrection” in an exhaustive concordance, one will find numerous verses about that doctrine—including Hebrews 6:2 which lists it as one of the six elementary principles of Christ. Revelation 20:5-6 mentions the “first resurrection” as most desirable—for believers who will reign with Christ at his return. I hope to see you there!

 

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