Pretribulation teaches two gospels. It also fails to prepare one for tribulation. These tenacious claims refuse to go away. I’ve come to the conclusion that some critics desperately want to believe them.
How many times have you heard claims that John Darby, Scofield, dispensationalists and pretribulationists taught-teach two ways of salvation? Recently I saw the following bizarre assertion from a fairly well-known anti-pretrib activist:
Just as there is only one Messiah, there is only one gospel. This is a very important point, and it is at the heart of the debate when it comes to the timing of the rapture. Most pre-tribulationists will tell you there is more than one gospel. They will say there is the gospel of the kingdom which is for the Jews and the gospel of grace which is for the Church. (Emphasis mine)
Most people don’t like having their favorite eschatological views misrepresented or mocked. I’m no different. All end-times systems attract critics. Yet it seems to me that pretrib dispensationalism is policed with a touch of fanaticism.
Too often people repeat these statements without bothering to verify them. The charge against pretribulationism’s alleged two gospels is downright false. Israel is saved through Christ (Matt 23:39), just like all other nations. And just like you and me.
Once again, Tony Garland addresses the two ways of salvation canard HERE. See also Dr. Andy Woods’ kingdom articles and Dr. Michel Vlach’s The Kingdom Program in Matthew’s Gospel. Richard Mayhue responds to John Gerstner’s Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth.
Just for the record:
Of course, all the efficacious value for Israel then, as for us now, is in the blood of the Lamb. If Israel will have sacrifices, as well as an earthly temple and priesthood, they will be only commemorative signs of the one great offering of Christ. ~ John Nelson Darby
I wish critics would stop using the blunderbuss approach. If you want to be taken seriously, cite original sources. Of course if you just like throwing mud around, then you’re doing a fine job.
The context of my activist friend’s statement above was a defense of his mission to warn the world of the dangers of pretribulationism. This is the same gentleman who once approached me for money. I told him I’d rather donate to a mission whose goal is to reach the lost. Perhaps others did the same.
He’s since countered that the gospel is inextricably woven into the second coming (read rapture timing). Part of the convoluted excuse is that the church historically thought itself in the [great] tribulation and that many believed the pope was the Antichrist. Therefore, presumably, they were prepared for tribulation.
Given this, the charges are that pretribulationism fails to prepare the church for tribulation, the Antichrist and Messiah’s second coming. Luke 18:18b and Galatians 1:8-9 are directed at pretribulationism as dire warnings about being accursed for preaching a contrary gospel, and about whether the Son of Man finds faith when He returns. This is serious business.
I hardly know where to begin.
The gospel is connected to Christ’s death and resurrection (John 3:16; 1 Cor 15:3-4). It has nothing to do with rapture timing or eschatological differences. The argument is an excuse to indulge a passion. Differences in opinions regarding this timing do not equate to another gospel. But perhaps my comprehension is a little tardy. Feel free to contact and set me straight.
Will pretribbers confuse the Antichrist for the Messiah if the rapture is posttrib? Heard that one before?
Here’s the deal: If pretribbers are wrong and find themselves in the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist will be easy to spot. It’s not that hard. He’s the guy who lops people’s heads off if they don’t worship him. Jesus doesn’t need to do that. Then there’s that mark thing…it’s all in the book. Need I go on?
I’ve covered this before. How do we prepare for the tribulation? I’ve yet to see training manuals being issued. Trust me, I’ve searched and asked. The focus always rests on converting pretribbers. Should we assume that an individual is miraculously protected on the expectation of enduring the 70th week of Daniel? It seems so.
Will we drop everything and lose faith in the Bible if we suddenly find ourselves inside the Tribulation? Are you trusting in your own strength and resources, or placing your trust in Christ? If it’s the former, you will be in trouble. Personally, I find no comfort in my own strength or preparation. Do you?
This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. John 6:39
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39
James Montgomery Boice has rightly said that:
“…the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ should be an incentive to godly living…the return of the Lord Jesus Christ should make us more and more energetic in evangelism.”
Evangelism is about bringing people to Christ, not changing their rapture position. Moreover, pretribulationists who are living faithfully and expecting Christ’s imminent return are well-covered by God’s promises. So don’t waste time attacking us – go proclaim the gospel to the lost.
Finally, here are some book recommendations for critics who want to accurately portray the system they’re criticizing (assuming they exist):
1) Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths (Michael J. Vlach)
2) The Greatness of the Kingdom (Alva J. McClain)
3) He Will Reign Forever: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God (Michael J. Vlach)