Jones, Bell, and Camping: Some Optimistic Thoughts Before Judgement Day

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Church, News in Focus, Proclaiming the Gospel, Theology, Thinking
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2011 has been a crazy year and it is only May 20th, 2011! That is right, my last full day until the rapture and the beginning of the end!

Okay, well maybe Judgement Day is not going to be tomorrow. But then again, maybe it will. Or, maybe it will all end today. Who knows? Well Harold Camping seems to know.

He believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that the rapture and Judgement Day will occur tomorrow, May 21st, 2011, at around 6:00 P.M. Now this isn’t a post about Camping or his thoughts about Judgement Day neither is this an attack on him. He has, hopefully, done something good for all of us. So has other controversial religious leaders in 2011.

Rob Bell wrote a book describing what Heaven and Hell might actually be like and how Hell might not be eternal. This also is a very controversial subject, of which I have spoken out against in other posts, so I will not be offering anymore analysis on his book Love Wins. But Rob Bell has actually done something good for us, regardless of how wrong his suggestions are.

Lastly, Terry Jones and some followers put the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, on a mock trial and sentenced it to death. So they burned the Qur’an. Following this act, many people in the Muslim world were outraged and many people were killed because of the violent outbursts in response to Jones’ act. Once again, this isn’t an attack on Jones or his actions. We can hopefully look at this situation, as well as the other two, and see some good things that these events have done for all of us.

All three of these controversial events have accomplished one great thing. They have created conversation.

Terry Jones began to see the very dark side of orthodox Islam. And now because of his actions, we can all take a closer look into Islam and maybe even try to understand it. Maybe we can actually have enough interest to read some of the Qur’an and see what it says about Jesus and Christianity. It is rather shocking, especially if you are a Christian. Without supporting or condemning his act of burning the Qur’an, we can at least say that the topic is now a little more out in the open for people to discuss. But I will say this, we are quickly approaching, and I fear we are already arriving, at a place in time when protesting will not be possible. Freedom of speech is just barely holding on right now.

Rob Bell brought the discussion of Heaven and Hell to the forefront once again. The best thing about this controversy is that because Rob Bell offered something so opposite of orthodox Christian belief, many Evangelical Christians came out of the woodwork to defend what the Bible actually teaches about the afterlife, Hell in particular. There was a stronger unity that was created among confessional Christians, as well as a strong call to hold to, and hold high, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heaven and Hell became a growing topic of discussion because of Rob Bell and we can thank him for that.

Now on to Camping. No one knows what will happen tomorrow besides God. But what I do know about all of the controversy of Harold Camping is that the discussion of the end times is now in the limelight, sadly it has been, for the most part, to make fun of Camping and Christians altogether. It reminds me of how they treated Noah in his day. Although most Christians don’t think Camping is correct, Camping has at least made Christians a little more expressive about the fact that Judgement Day could be today.

Jones has at least opened up the discussion about what Islam is truly all about, even though his methods can be debated over.

Bell has brought the topic of salvation into discussion and every Christian should appreciate when that happens because it is a chance to proclaim the Gospel.

And Camping has brought the topic of Jesus’ return and the end times to the attention of the whole world. Our hearts should break for the lost people of this world. We can see how broken and blind they are when they constantly make fun of us Christians, even though sometimes we make it easy for them.

We need to clearly know what the Bible says and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all creatures because it is through the Word preached that people are made alive and brought into the Kingdom of God. We must know what Muslim people actually believe, not what professing Muslims want us to believe, and we must proclaim the Gospel to them as well, in order to bring them out of their bondage and into the freedom of Jesus Christ. Our ignorance of Islam must end. And lastly, Judgement Day may not be tomorrow, but it is coming soon. I have to ask myself, “Am I ready and enthusiastically awaiting Christ’s return?” Are you?

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