“Wherefore, Contend With One Another Over These Words”
Vol: 44 Issue: 24 Tuesday, May 24, 2005
From time to time, there are periodic eruptions in the forums from new members or guests who believe that it is their mission in life to correct our allegedly mistaken views on doctrinal issues like eternal security or a pre-Trib Rapture.
The Omega Letter was designed to be a private fellowship of like-minded believers who can expect consistent and prayerful teaching on the deeper points of doctrine.
One can find many different ministries that claim a number of doctrines that aren’t shared by the Omega Letter.
There are Catholic ministries, Pentecostal ministries, Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational, ministries that believe in a pre-Trib Rapture, as well as those who believe in pre-wrath, mid-Trib, post-Trib — there is even a mainstream doctrine that denies there will ever be either a Rapture or a Tribulation Period.
I don’t enter into debates with believers who take a different view. It is my contention that doctrinal differences within the Church are deliberate.
The Genesis story of the tower of Babel is instructive in more ways than simply providing the answer to the question of where all the different races and languages came from.
In that story, the men of Babel, hoping to avoid another flood, decide to build “a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” (Genesis 11:4)
The narrative goes on;
“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7)
Clearly, God knew that the men of Babel could NOT build a tower that reaches to heaven. Just as clearly, God knew that there ARE restraints on men, and there ARE some things that men cannot do, even if they imagine they can.
It is true now, and it was even more true then.
But, without the confounding of languages, the people WERE one, in that they had a single king who sought, by his own effort, to bring all the people of the earth together under a single banner in an expressed effort to thwart the purposes of God.
So God confused their languages, not because He couldn’t ‘put down’ a man-made effort to usurp His authority, but out of mercy, to prevent the necessity of having to punish them all.
In confusing their languages, God separated mankind into individual nations, preventing the rise of a global dictator like Nimrod who was determined to bring the whole world under a single, rebellious dictatorship.
In the beginning, the Church was one under Jesus Christ. To ensure that one man didn’t take over and begin dictating his own terms after the Lord ascended, Jesus left the Church under the care of twelve apostles.
Three hundred years later, one apostle was elevated by men to become the titular head of a single united, Christian Church, under the authority of a single man heading a single denomination.
The consequence of that effort is known to history as the ‘Dark Ages’.
Once the Church became ‘one’ under the papacy, there truly was ‘nothing restrained from them’ spiritually. The Popes of the Dark Ages appointed and removed kings from their thrones. History is filled with the accounts of the Papal wars and inquisitions.
Under the power of the papacy, the power over heaven and hell was taken from Jesus and given to the papal Church. The papal Church claimed the power to forgive sins or retain them, and made keeping Church doctrine a condition of salvation.
At its extreme, the papal Church began SELLING free passes to heaven, known as ‘plenary indulgences’, turning salvation into a commodity to be bought and sold.
It took a millennia for the power of the papacy to be broken by the Reformation, which resulted in the Church being separated into denominations, like the world was separated into individual nations at Babel.
The various denominations hold differing doctrinal views that keeps them separated into individual church groups, or denominations, preventing the rise of another superchurch.
According to the Book of the Revelation, in the last days, spiritual Babel will rise again, under the headship of a single man, energized by Satan, and known to Christians as the antichrist.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. . . and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:7a, 15b)
During the Church Age, no such leader could ever deceive the entire believing church. There are too many minor points of doctrine that divide us for any one man to unify us under a single banner of united Christianity.
The proof is the Omega Letter. Our fellowship are all professing believers, all saved by grace through faith, all witnesses to the saving power of Christ, and all expecting to spend eternity in heaven.
Despite all that, the doctrinal differences that exist between us on a single point, the timing of the Rapture, is enough to divide us into two camps. From what I can read, there will be no compromise.
Those who reject a pre-Trib Rapture argue that expecting a pre-Trib Rapture will make believers so blinded to the antichrist that when a European leader arises who confirms a peace covenant with Israel, declares himself Israel’s Messiah, and demands global worship in exchange for a Mark that, without which, they will be unable to buy or sell, that they will accept the Mark.
According to this view, because the Rapture hasn’t happened, Christians in the Tribulation will not recognize the antichrist.
Consequently, there is no fellowship between the two camps. When they come together under one roof, all the points of common agreement fall by the wayside as each side attempts to ‘convert’ the other to their point of view.
It wouldn’t matter who came along, or how charismatic he might be, there is nobody on this side of the Church Age who could get every Christian to accept his headship.
It is the doctrinal differences that divide us that prevented the rise of antichrist during the Church Age, just as the language division broke Nimrod’s power at Babel.
To many Christians, ‘ecumenism’ is a dirty word. ‘Ecumenism’ is a doctrine that seeks to set aside theological differences in an “organized attempt to bring about the cooperation and unity of all believers in Christ.”
Why is ecumenism such a dirty word? Because a single Church body, under a single banner, sets the stage for the rise of a false prophet as described in Revelation 13. That is why most non-denominational Christians oppose it.
Every ministry has its own statement of faith. Why is that? Because they are different.
The Omega Letter’s statement of faith holds to the inerrant, Divine inspiration of Scripture. We believe in salvation by grace through faith.
I personally prefer the King James Bible for preaching and teaching, but we take no dogmatic view as a ministry.
We believe in the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, eternal security, dispensationalism and a pre-Tribulational Rapture.
One can find other, sincere, honest and Christ-honoring ministries who differ with us on several points. As a consequence, there will be no evangelical ‘pope’ who can authoritatively dictate doctrine to all Christians during the Church Age.
But the Bible says such a one will exist during the Tribulation.
The Omega Letter will hold fast to its statement of faith, because, unlike our critics, we believe that God has His purposes in this age, just as He did when he confused the languages of men at Babel.
It is not our mission to convince skeptical Christians that the pre-Trib Rapture is the correct view. We believe it is the correct view, but reject any notion that the timing of the Rapture has any bearing on salvation.
We teach it because we believe it is correct, but we have no contention with those who believe otherwise. And we have no wish to engage in pointless debate, either in our publications, or within our forums.
Having taught the Rapture in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, the Apostle Paul didn’t conclude by saying, “Wherefore contend with one another over these words.”
Instead, he said, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)
I find little comfort in confrontation.