April May June 2011
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2
D E P A R T M E N T S
The life AFTER with Chris Lee
Live the life after with a Bible
It was painful to watch news reports of the Harold Camping fiasco on May 21. One couldn’t help but see the parallels to the Millerites. Using wild leaps of logic, allegorical readings of scripture, and mind bending numerology, Camping predicted that the end would occur in1988, then 1994, and most recently 2011. One instantly thinks of Miller’s convoluted 15 proofs that Jesus would come in 1843, later recalculated as October 22, 1844.
After the failed 1994 prediction, Camping decided he had the right date, but the wrong event. The real significance of the date was the closing of the Church age, putting those who stayed in the “nominal” churches in danger of being lost for rejecting his message. The similarity to Ellen White’s “Shut Door” doctrine is eerie.
Parallels to Adventism
Even more disturbing are the parallels with Camping’s latest reinterpretation. Camping now admits he was incorrect about Jesus coming on May 21, 2011, but insists that a judgment in Heaven took place on that date. The Adventist doctrine of an 1844 Investigative Judgment is a similar face-saving invention.
Of course, those of us who have left Adventism are now far too savvy to be tripped up by such ridiculousness, right? Don’t be so sure. Satan packs a one-two punch in the old false-prophecy-becomes-deceptive-doctrine ploy. I suspect that getting people to accept the false teaching is just the jab setting up the big right hand. The knock-out punch is when those people become so disillusioned by the deception that they no longer believe much of anything anymore. Kind of like a lot of us former Adventists.
I see it more than I would like—former Adventists declaring the Bible to be untrustworthy and questioning Christian fundamentals. Or sometimes the disillusion simply manifests itself in an unwillingness to join with any body of believers or an inability to accept any new ideas. In some cases, it seems like spiritual development gets arrested at the “Adventism is wrong” stage, but no one at Proclamation! wants you to be stuck there.
The opposite of being trapped in a false belief system is not skepticism, liberalism, or stagnation. It’s discovering what Francis Shaffer referred to as “True Truth”, that which corresponds to reality. We who write for Proclamation! are committed to discovering what is true about God and knowing the real Jesus. Given the mission of this magazine, it’s necessary to explain why long held beliefs don’t stand up to biblical scrutiny. However, we are also committed to expounding scriptural truth as we develop a biblical worldview rather than one shaped by “the great controversy.”
While Proclamation! is here to offer support on the journey of knowing and living Truth, the best place for all of us to start is by learning to read and study the Bible properly so we don’t repeat the errors of Miller, White, and Camping.
Need to study the Bible
Basically, we need to learn to understand and apply passages in their own context. When we do this we find that the Bible is not so difficult to understand. The main and plain truths of the Christian faith are clear, and the view of the world presented by the Bible corresponds to observable reality. It’s an amazing revelation if, like I did, one has grown up believing that the Bible is a cryptic book that can only be understood by following tenuously linked threads from verse to verse.
To get started, check with a couple of good local Bible teaching churches; most have classes on Bible study. Or try some online studies like those at Back to the Bible’s website. It gets easier with practice, and it’s infinitely rewarding. It’s time to start living the life after. †
Copyright 2010 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised July 27, 2011. Contact email: email@example.com
Chris Lee lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife, Carmen, and daughters, Ashlyn and Alyssa. They attend the Lincoln Berean Church. Chris is a self-described "theology junkie" whose mission is to proclaim the unfathomable grace of Christ in a clear, understandable, and Biblical way. He leads a Life Group Bible study for former Adventists at Lincoln Berean. You may contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.