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A PUBLICATION OF THE BIBLE INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES. INCQRPORATB)
Louis T. Talbot, Chancellor • S. H. Sutherland, President • Ray A. Myers, Board Chairman OCTOBER, in the year oF our Saviour Vol 55 No 10 ... „ . . i «. , , Established 1910 VOI. oo, ino . IU Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-four Dedicated to the spiritual development of the Christian home
m FEAR — Vanee Havner ......................................................... 8 M Y HUSBAND W A S ON THE THRESHER — Bettie Bierderman ..1 0 THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RAPTURE — John F. Walvoord ...... 12 JUBILEE FOR CHR IST IAN COLLEGE ......................................... 15 SATAN — Wallace Emerson .................................................... 18 STALE SA IN TS — Edwin Raymond Anderson ............................ 17 LET'S REWRITE THE MARR IAGE VOW S — Don W. Hillis ...... 20 THE BIBLE'S INFLUENCE — Judith Claassen ........................— 21 THE STORY OF STAR — Jean McGregor .................................. 40 W HO W ILL STAND IN THE GAP .......................................... 42 F e a t a MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR — Samuel H. Sutherland ............ 8 CULTS CRITIQUE — Betty Bruechert ....................................... 18 DR. TALBOT'S QUESTION BOX — Louis T. Talbot ................... 26 TA LK ING IT OVER — Clyde M. Narramore ................................ 28 PERSONAL EVANGELISM — Benjamin Weiss .......................... 29 BOOK REVIEWS — Arnold D. Ehlert ....................................... 30 WORLD NEW SGRAMS — James O. Henry ................................ 32 SCIENCE A N D THE BIBLE — Bolton Davidheiser ................ ..... 33 UNDER THE PARSONAGE ROOF — Althea S. Miller ................. 35
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C o U im iu PEOPLE IN THE NEWS ........................................................... 4 READER REACTION ............................................................... 5
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Harrisonburg, Virginia, has an nounced the appointment of James Fairfield of Preston, Ontario, as staff writer. Mr. Fairfield’s background has given him unique preparation for this new assignment, about which he says, “ The Gospel and writing are old companions. I thank God I can share in this companion ship through my work with Mennon ite Broadcasts.” Rev. James Kayode Bolarin, African pastor and journalist, has been ap pointed Managing Editor of Africa’s
As s o c i a t i o n , has announced a regis tration goal of two thousand f o r the 19th Annual Phila- de l ph i a Sunday School Convention to be he ld next month. Among the featured speakers will be the Rev. David Allen, pastor
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l a r g e s t Christian magazine, A F R I C A N C H A L L E N G E , by the Sudan I n t e r i o r Mission. Rev. Bola rin joined the staff of the Yoruba edi tion of the CHAL LENGE in 1955 and became its edi tor in 1959 follow
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editor of Scripture Press Publications. One of the high lights of the pro gram will be a panel presentation on t h e to p i c , “ Christian Youth and Higher Educa tion.” The annual convention is de- signed to help the
ing journalism studies in London. He was ordained by the Association of Evangelical Churches of West Africa in 1963. The two CHALLENGE edi tions have a combined circulation of 150,000. International Missions, Inc., has an nounced that an unbelievable re sponse is coming from Muslims in Iran as a result of a special litera ture distribution effort and the first Gospel broadcast in the Persian lan guage. The co-operative literature distribution program with the “ Send the Light” group of young people has resulted in over 3,000 enrollees in the Bible correspondence courses with a 60% completion rate among those taking the earlier lessons, and an 80% completion rate among those continuing in the later lessons! An other 2,000 are enrolled as a result of the radio broadcasts once a week in Persian, which come in by short wave from Trans World Radio trans mitters in Monocco. Dr. R. Kenneth Straehan, general di rector of the Latin American Mis sion, because of illness, has been forced to request a limited health leave for one year, during which time he will devote himself to special writing projects and to a light teach ing schedule at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. Dr. Horace L. Fenton, Jr., associate gen eral director, will assume Stratchan’s duties as general director for this period.
Sunday school on the local level to achieve maximal effectiveness in reaching and teaching for Christ. Ron Wilson, editor of Youth for Christ magazine, has been appointed as a fulltime missionary journalist to Lima, Peru. Mr. Wilson will train a national editor for the youth mag azine, Juventud Para Cristo, which Youth for Christ now publishes from its Lima office. The magazine is geared to youth with an evangelistic emphasis. It is not a translation of the North American Youth for Christ magazine. Articles are writ ten especially for the magazine, and eventually it will be a completely in digenous publication. Clarence W. Jones of The World Radio Missionary Fellowship, has been appointed Executive Director of the Committee of the Interna tional Christian Broadcasters. To meet the fast growing challenge for planned cooperative effort among evangelical broadcasters overseas, the ICB Committee thus fills a long standing need for greater structural strength in its service-agency pro gram that now touches all contin ents. Kenneth J. Weaver, executive secre tary of Mennonite Broadcasts, Inc.,
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NEW, VITAL READING FOR ACTIVE CHRISTIANS f ~ l IT TOOK A MIRACLE! Herbert L. Bowdoin. How Christ came into the life of ex-salesman Ford Phiipot: his victory over alcoholism to become one of today's lead ing evangelists. $2.50 f ~ 1 WHY NOT JUST BE CHRISTIANS? Vance Havner takes a searching look at ecu- menicism and other modern "movements.” A highly significant questioning of Christian val ues and goals. $2.50 1 1 THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM Robert E. Coleman roots evangelism In the "o n going life and witness of the congregation/' as it w as with our Lord and H is disciples. $2.95 □ Paperback edition. $1.00 [ ~ | GREAT EXPOSITORY SERMONS Faris D. Whitesell. Serm ons of Chrystostom, Luther, Spurgeon, Jowett, Morgan, Redpath, Rees and others; each with brief biography and critique. $3.50 l~~l ILLUSTRATING THE LESSON FOR 1965 Arthur H. Stainback. An average of eight graphic illustrations for each of the International Sun day School Lessons for 1965. Subject index. $1.50 F I THE GIST OF THE LESSON FOR 1965 Donald T. Kauffman, Ed. The famous pocket commentary on the International Lessons, for teacher and student. Originated by R. A. Torrey. $1.25 f ~ l A MINISTER'S OBSTACLES Ralph G. Turnbull. Sensitive, sympathetic analy sis of a m inister's temptations and problems, and how to face them. New revised, enlarged edition. $2.95 O A GUIDE TO THE GOSPELS W. Graham Scroggie. Background and origin of the Writings, the material of each, expositions, explanations. 664 pp.; 8 maps. A Revell Reprint. $9.95 |~1 REVELL’S GUIDE TO CHRISTIAN COLLEGES Marden L. Perry, Ed. Detailed, essential facts for college-bound students, parents and advisors on Christian colleges in the U.S. and Canada. $4.95 □ Paperback edition. $3.50 Nam e................. ............................ .............. Address............................... ........ ................. City....................State...............Zip # ............ □ Payment herewith □ Charge my account TAKE THIS ORDER FORM TO YOUR BOOKSELLER FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY Publisher WESTWOOD, N. J.
message from , the editor ^
P BY DR. SAMUEL H. SUTHERLAND BROADCASTING SHENANIGANS
V PRESIDENT, THE BIBLE INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES, INC.
u r i n g t h e E a s t e r season, 1964, there was sent to the radio mailing list of a rather well-known religious radio program a letter intimating that an authentic photograph of Jesus had been found. O f course the communication does not make a flat state ment to that effect, but the whole purport of the letter points in that direction. And the unwary reader would naturally come to the conclusion that it was a fact and send in his contribution to the particular radio program in order to obtain such a "photo graph.” In our humble judgment, this is about the ultimate in an unholy effort to play upon the gullibility of the Christian public. As might be expected, this comes out of Southern California, un doubtedly the center of more crackpot religious rackets than anywhere else in the world. The letter states, "Recently a deposed king of a large Euro pean nation visited in Los Angeles and announced at a gathering of prominent civic leaders that his family, of the Royal House of Savoy, has in its possession an actual photograph of Jesus Christ.” The radio preacher claims to have made a "scientific study” of the alleged photography. Now he declares, "The months of painstaking research and study have been rewarded; exact copies of the photograph have been obtained. The original negative is not a painting or a fake. It is actually a photograph made by a curious scientific accident many centuries before the chemical laws of photography were discovered.” The letter con tinues, "N o one has seen these photographs without a sense of awe. You can see the actual face, the thorn crown marks, the place of nails in hands and feet, the spear marks in the heart and every whip mark stands out in sharp relief. Scientific proof is piling up that this may actually be a facial and bodily image of Jesus Christ.” Incidentally, the editor as yet has not seen one of these so- called photographs; therefore it leaves one in somewhat of a quandary. How is it possible to "see the actual face” and "the spear marks in the heart” and at the same time see "every whip
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mark” that evidently must have been inflicted upon the back of our Lord at the time of His trial before Pilate . . . all in one picture? Let it be said that there are many Christian leaders today who are broadcasting by means of radio the message of salvation with great zeal and effectiveness. We thank God for all of the faithful Christian broadcasters who are true to the Word and who pro claim its holy message to the salvation of souls and building up of saints in our most holy faith. It is rather tragic, indeed, to realize that along with this great company of men who are true to the Word there are those who use devious means to attract listeners and who then extract from them gifts by questionable means and for questionable purposes. Gifts to maintain these Christian broadcasts are absolutely essential and naturally people will give to the radio program when their own hearts are blessed. But, when a new voice begins to be heard on a new program purporting to give out the Word, it is always wise to investigate before one invests. Perhaps it would be of interest to note that the Bible Institute Hour is among the oldest broadcasts so far as continuous years of Christian broadcasting are concerned. It was started by Dr. Louis T . Talbot, Chancellor of Biola, shortly after he became pastor of the Church of the Open Door in downtown Los An geles in 1932. It has been heard continuously through the years since that time. It has had an ever-widening sphere of influence. An untold number of individuals have been brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through its ministry; many, many thousands more have been spiritually blessed and enriched and encouraged by the messages which have gone out from the Bible Institute Hour. Through the years, hundreds of students have been attracted to the school because of the broadcasts and by means of a number of foreign Christian radio stations. The Biola Hour literally is heard around the world. It is the conviction of Mr. A l Sanders, the master of cere monies of the Bible Institute Hour and Vice-President of Public Relations of Biola, and the entire Board of Directors, that we should keep the Gospel message on the air until our Lord Jesus Christ comes in the air. All who give to Biola, unless the gift is specifically designated, share not only in the radio programs but also in the training of hundreds of young people in the Bible Institute, Biola College, Biola School of Missionary Medicine, Talbot Theological Seminary, the Arizona Bible College and the other ministries of Biola. Thus one who gives to Biola has a part in more facets of Christian work than almost any other organiza tion with which we are familiar. Please continue to pray for Biola in all of its work, its testi mony, its students, its alumni, and its entire outreach. Your prayers and gifts will indeed count not for time alone but for all eternity.
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I am well aware that what is in mind in these verses is a reverential fear of God and not a nervous fear of judgment. We are not to be subject to bondage all our days through fear of death. He that feareth is not made perfect in love and perfect love casteth out fear. Many verses could be brought up to reprove us for an improper fear, for trembling when we ought to triumph. But we have with us many dear souls who, for one reason or another, are sore beset by fightings within and fears without. They get scant help from most ser mons and books that seem, somehow, to move all around their problem but never actually touch it. Some of these fearful souls were born that way. They are temperamentally set in a minor key. Others have be come that way through great adversity or illness. Mel ancholy plays devilish tunes on unstrung nerves. Some are afflicted with that perverse ingenuity of mind, of which MacLaren writes, that manages to distill a bitter vinegar of accusation out of grand words in the Bible which were meant to afford them but the wine of glad ness and of consolation. Whatever the precise form of their trouble, these trembling souls will get scant help from most preachers and teachers and books. Certainly they can expect noth ing from the school of happiness boys who fairly trip through the Christian life with a “ tra-la-la.” Chris tians with naturally sunny dispositions who have not had much trouble can do nothing but theorize at best and a cheap gay optimism will not do for Mr. Fearing. Indeed it will not do for anybody. Try as you will, you a
cannot build up from the gospels a hail-fellow-well-met Jesus giving hooray pep-talks. The Man of Sorrows Who sighed and wept and groaned in spirit because He knew the world’s heartbreak does not fit into our cheer leader brand of American Christianity very well. There is a world of difference between what this world calls happiness and what God calls joy. There are other Christians of robust rugged consti tution and faith who will have little patience with Mr. Fearing. Strong of will and dogmatic, they seem so sure and positive that they but make him the more wretched and drive him to despair. They may admonish him to “ snap out of it” but they cannot help him for their sturdy natures just cannot understand such fel low-travelers and may terrify him further by accusing him of some secret sin when perhaps he has already confessed more than he is guilt of. Other earnest and well-meaning souls would like to help Mr. Fearing and they try but they have never had any such experiences as his and that totally disqualifies them. Our Saviour was tempted in all points like as we are and that is one reason why He can help us. But not every Christian has been along the desolate sloughs of despondency and passed sleepless nights and been tor mented by bugaboos and hobgoblins of the soul. It is impossible to help such weary pilgrims through such lowlands if you have not been their way. Experience grants an insight because “ you know how it is.” This scribe knows whereof he writes. He made his way through several dismal years when, like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, he could not distinguish the THE KING'S BUSINESS
voices he heard and verily thought the whisperings of the Accuser sprang from his own mind. He dared not turn to some for help for their very hilarity discouraged him. And what a failure many devotional writers and spiritual helpers turned out to be! He was not helped out of his dungeon by experts. When he emerged, he had sympathy he had never had before for all similarly afflicted. But, although many helpers failed, he became well acquainted with some rare and precious souls both of the past and present who did not disappoint him. What a fresh debt to dear old John Bunyan! Modern psychia trists would have a picnic analyzing the Bedford tink- Thousands of immigrants have looked eagerly for the lighteci torch of the Statue of Liberty as their ship has steamed into New York harbor. We sing "O u r Fathers' God, to Thqe, A u thor of Liberty, To Thee we sing.",. In what sense is God the "Author of Lib erty?" Through a plan by which everybody can be truly free: free from the burden of sin and despair. One of the hardest things in the world is for a man to admit that he ever misses the standard which God has set. Yet the Scriptures inform us that "A ll have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bear the burden of the world's sin. When He is allowed to come into your heart and life, the fetters of sin are broken and for the first time you realize what liberty really means. Everyone desires to have freedom from the power'of the dictator's hand, but even more important is the necessity of knowing we are free from the power of sin and counted right eous in God's sight. Jesus Christ said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives . . . to set at lib erty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18). T H A T is real liberty, and it can be yours despite any circumstances which surround you. Available in printed form from the American Tract Society, Oradell, New Jersey. er’s ups and downs, but that immortal pilgrim knew more about the human heart than all the experts of today. What has better described the misgivings of some of us than Christian (who is of course Bunyan him self) saying in the Valley when he perceived that God was with others similarly beset: “ And why not with me, though, by reason of the impediment which attends this place, I cannot perceive it” ? And Mr. Fearing himself! Alexander Whyte grows exuberant and says, “ Show me another passage in our whole literature to compare with John Bunyan’s por trait of Mr. Fearing.” Now I do not defend Mr. Fear ing nor do I hold him up as a model for Christian con duct. Perhaps he should have gone through singing in stead of sighing. Sturdy souls nowadays would now call him a neurotic. But I perceive that he did not get into as much trouble with sin and Satan as some of the LIBERTY Richard Woike
hardier souls. “ The highest flames,” says Jeremy Tay lor, “are the most tremulous” and the pilgrim who quakes in his boots, whatever else he may be.gqilty of, will not likely rush into the rash and precipitate sins that so often ensnare the bold and venturous traveler. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trem bling and pass the time of our sojourning here in fear. Mr. Fearing may be afraid of the wrong things but even at that he will learn more readily the right kind of fear than he who boasts of no fear at all. According to Bunyan God was very good to Mr. Fearing and when the poor soul got to the river where he thought he should be drowned forever and so never see that Face with comfort that he had come so many miles to behold, no such thing happened. Instead, the water of the river was lower than ever and he went over “ not much above wetshod.” And dear Alexander MacLaren with his matchless sermon on “ The Witness of the Spirit!” He is very patient with Mr. Fearing. “ There are none so far away from false confidence,” says he, “as those who tremble lest they be cherishing it . . . There may be, and there often is, the combination of a real confidence and a false diffidence, the presence of faith, and the doubt whether it be present.” Now the real trouble with such fearful ones is that they have a misplaced fear. They are fearful about the wrong things. I have already hinted at i t : they should cease worrying about their acceptance and cultivate the godly fear of our texts. We have only to commit the keeping of our souls unto the faithfql Creator; our Lord will keep all we commit unto Him against that day. But we do well to exercise another kind o f fear, not dread, but a holy and reverent fear of God. The man who lives that way is far nearer the spirit of the New Testament than the glib, flippant sort who has never tasted deeply of human misery. The old hymnwriters thought the Christian life to be serious business. They were bidding their souls be on guard and would have them stretch every nerve and press on with vigor. They would not be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease. They envisioned a fight and a struggle and they would give all diligence to make their calling and election sure. They made it life’s supreme concern to walk circumspectly; they worked at it and prayed over it and were profoundly concerned lest they be castaways. They were burdened over the plague of their hearts and the poverty of their souls. They were bur dened over the state of the church and the plight of the world. Ezekiel’s man with the inkhorn would have marked them because they did mourn for the abomina tion of their generation. Dear friend, if you are set in a somber key, God can use you. He starts with the bass in stringing His instruments and today He has all too few serious souls to offset the high-pitched piping of our time. Turn your tendencies to good account. You will be in the company of Jeremiah weeping over his people and Paul willing to be accursed that Israel might be saved . . . and the Lord Himself with His heart broken for us all. And what shall we say of Augustine and Rutherford and McCheyne and Fletcher and Fox and all that im mortal host who truly passed the time of their sojourn ing here in fear? Surely this present hour is not conducive to levity among God’s colony still here on earth. The crisis demands appropriate conduct and we had better be at our godliest as we tread our way through these days. Sobriety becomes the children of light and while Mr. Fearing should not be afraid as to his acceptance at last, he may well fear God in his sojourning now.
Submarines USS Skate and USS Seadragon rendezvous at North Pole. USS Thresher was lost at sea in 1963.
MY HUSBAND WAS ON THE THRESHER
by Bettie Bierderman
After his assignment to the nu clear sub, Bob had little time for our four children and me. Sometimes, especially during the last month, he worked a 12-to 16-hour day. I be came discouraged myself. Usually he left before the children awakened and came home barely in time to tuck them in. One night about a week before the Thresher was due to go on sea trials, I became overwhelmed with discouragement. The tears came, but not wanting Bob to know how I felt, I quickly tidied up, opened the Bible, and was reassured that all would work together for good if I relied on God. When Bob came in, my anguish had gone. About one month before the Thresher disaster, we were attend ing an OCU meeting. The meeting was finished, and someone brought up the subject of physical death. After some discussion, one man re marked, “ I just can’t wait to meet the Lord.” His wife agreed, and though I did not hear Bob say it, a dear friend told me later that my husband said quietly, “ Neither can I.” The Thresher was due to leave on Tuesday, April 9. The day before I was tremendously busy. At 9 p.m. when Bob arrived home for supper, we were both exhausted. He ate lei surely and decided to do a few neg lected chores in the basement. When we retired, it was slightly after 11. “ What time do we have to get up?” I asked.
“ S ubmarines are the safest thing in the world,” my husband Bob used to say any time I showed appre hension about his underseas service in the United States Navy. Perhaps he was right. But Bob died April, 1963 when the nuclear sub USS Thresher sank to the bot tom of the Atlantic Ocean. The “ safest place in the world” couldn’t keep Bob from death; only the Lord could do that, and He chose to take Bob through death into His pres ence. Since then, God has sustained me in a way that I could never have imagined possible. I first met Bob in 1953, when he was in his last year at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. We dated steadily, and shortly after his graduation in June 1954 we became engaged. We were married the fol lowing September. Bob served aboard a destroyer and a conventional submarine before training in nuclear power. He be came ship superintendent on the Thresher in January 1963. Bob felt a definite calling to serve God in the naval service. He and I both received Christ as our Saviour and Lord during Bob’s postgraduate training. We grew spiritually by our fellowship and Bible study with the members of the Officers’ Christian Union. Bob tried to witness for the Lord by his daily walk, and I know that the Lord gave him extra strength for the long hours of duty and tremendous responsibility on the Thresher.
“ I'll set the alarm for 5:30.” “ Ohhhhh,” I sighed, secretly, be cause I was so tired, I thought that when the alarm rang at 5:30 I would ask Bob if he would mind if I stayed in bed just this once. When the alarm rang, praise God, I dragged my tired body out of bed, and I wondered how I ever could have thought such a thing as not getting up with Bob. We breakfasted and prayed to gether. I recall my prayer vividly. After thanking the Lord, I asked that He would give the men keen minds to fix any minor discrepancies which might occur. I prayed that the Lord would bless Bob, and that He would bring him back safely if it
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hope for the Thresher and its crew. The shock of 129 lives lost was un believable to me. When my mother and brother arrived from Connecti cut at dawn on that morning, I was quietly resigning myself to the fact that Bob was physically gone, and spiritually with our Lord. Later when I saw the official state ment of what had happened, I re called that quiet time I had on the morning of the 10th. In part, the statement read: “ To p e r s onne l aboard Skylark the dive appeared to be progressing satisfactorily until 9:13 a.m. . . . at about 9:16 a.m. Skylark heard a garbled transmis sion which we believed to contain the words ‘test depth.’ ” That was the last message from the Thresher to the escort vessel Skylark. I strongly feel that Wednes day morning when I prayed, Bob too was praying. He must have known danger was imminent. I believe that Bob was praying that the difficulty would be corrected, and that the Thresher would surface. I cannot help but feel that in the same breath he committed everything to the Lord. For those few minutes of quiet com munion, I thank God. A fellow OCU wife, Anna Barry, comforted me with these words: “Death is not the will of God. It has come to us all because o f sin and re bellion in the hearts of man from the beginning. But, though death is a usurper, an enemy, tearing our loved ones from us, it is already a defeat ed enemy. God has conquered death by Jesus Christ, and given us a blessed hope.” Bob was a wonderful husband, and a fine father. The children and I miss his nearness. I had read Little Pilgrim’s Progress to the children recently, and when this sea mishap occurred, I told the children that “Daddy went to heaven, to be with Jesus.” Eric, four, recalled the term used in the story and said, “ No, Daddy went to the celestial city.” Bruce, our five-year-old, repeated the phrase. I nodded and whispered, “ That’s right, Eric and Bruce.” The months have passed, and they have seemed like years. But the Lord has sustained me with His grace. He has taught me through this experi ence to rely on Him alone. I believe He directed Bob into my life, blessed us richly, and now saw fit to call him home to Himself. For all of this and past memories, I praise Him. Truly, all that God plans for us is ultimate ly good, though for the present the experience may be painful. Copyright 1964 Scripture Press Publications, Inc,, Wheaton, Illinois. Used by permission from POWER FOR LIVING, take-home paper for adults •
prayed together, and he quietly went to sleep. Immediately I called a friend of Bob’s who was stationed on the base at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Lt. Dennis Ballow gave me the latest information. There was nothing en couraging, but there was no reason to lose hope. Later that evening when he and his wife came to the house, I knew it was serious. Our pastor had stopped by earlier that evening. Among the Scripture passages shared with me by Pastor Carlyle Saylor, of the Hampton Falls Baptist Church, was Nahum 1:7 — “ The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He know- eth them that trust in Him.” I repeated this mentally several times to myself, and leaned heavily on it. He also gave me Isaiah 41:10 — “ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My right eousness.” I clung to that verse in the days that followed. A Christian friend, Joy Gulick, spent the night with me. We prayed, listened to news broadcasts, and prayed again. Tears flowed fre quently. Inwardly I knew that I must be able to say without any res ervation, “ Thy will be done, Lord.” I believe I reached this point toward the early morning hours. The last broadcast we heard was at 4 :30 a.m. Exhausted, but still hoping, we slept for a few hours. The next reports we heard gave no
were His will. Then we kissed good bye. I never dreamed of danger, and I am confident Bob did not either. It was just another routine trip, and we expected to have supper together Thursday evening. On every trip Bob made out to sea, we set a specific time when we would remember each other in pray er and read the Word. Bob men tioned 9 p.m. would be best for him because by then all the daily de mands would have eased, so we agreed to pray at 9 in the evening. Tuesday night I remembered him about 9 p.m. Wednesday morning after sending our oldest boy Greg to school and after finishing a few chores, I went upstairs to have my quiet time. The other children were playing. After I was finished I looked at the clock: it was just a few minutes past 9. “ Strange,” I thought to myself, “ Bob and I agreed to remember each other in prayer at 9 o’clock in the evening, not 9 o’clock in the morn ing.” Other than that, I had no un usual feeling. When the captain from the ship yard called me sometime after 7 p.m. that evening and informed me that contact with the Thresher had been lost, I felt no alarm. Bob had told me this had happened before; an electri cal short circuit had caused them to lose communication. All the children were sleeping ex cept Gregory, seven years old. “ Don’t worry, Mommy,” he said, “ they have the Skylark with them, and every thing will be okay.” The Skylark is a submarine r e s c u e vessel. We
C_V\'jvVhc .'A T he doctrine op the coming op the L ord for His own with its promise of the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the translation of the living church was a prominent feature in the church in the first century. Most scholars agree that the early church believed in the imminent return of the Lord and considered it a possibility that the Lord could come at any time. Such a hope seemed to have permeated apostolic thinking. In I and II Thessalonians, for instance, it is mentioned in every chapter. Most of the epistles make some mention of the coming of the Lord and anticipate the end of the age. In spite of the apostolic emphasis on the doctrine, there is a studied avoidance of the subject in much of the theological literature of the past and present. Many systematic theologies barely mention the subject of the rapture, and, if mentioned at all, it is included as a minor phase of end-time events. In modern liberalism and neo-orthodoxy, no attention whatever is paid to the subject of the rapture. Even in conservative theological discussion, the tendency is to play down the importance of this theme of Scripture. This neglect of the doctrine of the rapture is all the more remarkable because the place given to the rapture in any system of theology is a significant commentary upon its theological premises, its hermeneutical princi ples, and its prophetic program as a whole. An analysis of the doctrine of the rapture in relationship to theology as a whole will demonstrate that the doctrine has sig nificance far beyond its own particulars, and that, therefore, conclusions reached concerning the rapture reveal a system of thought. The contention of some con temporary scholars that eschatology is unimportant and that the rapture doctrine in particular is a matter of little interest to theology as a whole is an error of con siderable proportion. T heological P remises op the R apture In the study o f the truth concerning the rapture of the church, it soon becomes apparent that one of the major issues is the inspiration of the Scriptures. Mod ern liberals who deny that the Bible is the infallible Word of God have in general taken the position that prophecy is an impossibility. Passages in the New Tes tament, therefore, which speak of the rapture they con sider a record of the hope of the early church or in some cases a statement of divine purpose. They do not be lieve that prophecy should be accepted at face value as a bona fide prediction o f a future event. Liberals, when pressed, will acknowledge that human life cannot go on forever and that there must be some end to human exis tence in this present state. Nevertheless, they deny that the Bible outlines in any specific way a future program which will be literally fulfilled. The disinterest o f the church at large in the doctrine of the rapture may be traced in part to this attitude of unbelief in prophecy as a whole and questions concerning the authority, integrity, and accuracy of Scripture. Accordingly, writers who do not accept the infallibility of the Scrip tures seldom add anything to the doctrine of the rap ture, and for the most part avoid or ignore the sub ject completely. Only theological conservatives can engage in any vital discussion concerning the rapture. Normally, they hold to the concept that the Bible can predict the future. Regardless of their particular point of view, they usually agree that the Bible predicts the end of the age and a personal, bodily return of the Lord. For such, the question is how the passages dealing with the transla tion of the living church and the resurrection of the
by John F. Walvoord, Th.D.
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heaven to the earth. The church will be translated, according to I Thessalonians 5, meet the Lord in the air, and then continue with the heavenly throng to the earth to accompany Christ in His establishment of the millen nial kingdom. The post-tribulational view, as held by some premillenarians, is often quite similar to that advocated by the amillenarian, differing from it prin cipally in its concept of the millennial reign of Christ following the rapture. For the amillenarian the eternal age begins immediately. The post-tribulationism of our day in some respects corresponds to the view of the early church fathers and in other aspects is decidedly different and recent. In the church of the second and third century, it was com monly believed that the church was already in the great tribulation predicted by Christ. For this reason, they believed in the imminency of Christ’s return as an event which could happen any day. Their view of the Lord’s return was that it was both post-tribulational and im minent. Most conservative scholarship agrees that the early church fathers were in error in their conclusion that they were already in the great tribulation. The passing of the centuries makes it clear that their persecutions were those which could be normally expected through out the age rather than the particular trials which could be expected in the great tribulation. Modern post- tribulationists, however, believe that the early church fathers were right in their conclusion concerning post- tribulationism even if they were wrong in believing they were already in the great tribulation. In contrast to the early fathers, however, modern post-tribulation- ists do not believe in imminency in the same sense as did the early church, but rather hold that certain events must take place first, namely, the events outlined in the Scriptures as preceding the second coming of Christ to the earth. Modern post-tribulationists, there fore, while affirming post-tribulationism as such, deny imminency in the sense of an any-moment return, and hold a decidedly different point of view from the early church fathers. In contrast to post-tribulationism, the pretribula- tional position holds that the rapture of the church is an event separated from the second coming of Christ to the earth by a period of time usually considered to be at least seven years on the basis of Daniel’s prophecies in Daniel 9:27. Pretribulationists therefore generally accept the doctrine of imminency, that is, that Christ could come at any moment. They deny post-tribulation ism, and hold that there must be a period of time be tween the rapture and the second coming itself during which certain events are viewed as following rather than preceding the rapture, there is nothing hindering the rapture occurring any day. A third view largely promoted in our present gen eration is the so-called midtribulational view which places the rapture three and one-half years before Christ’s second coming to establish His kingdom. There is comparatively no literature on the subject and few scholars have been willing to advocate openly this point of view. Some have adopted it, apparently motivated primarily by the desire to mediate the pretribulational and post-tribulational view and accept some tenets from both views. Though this interpretation has proved attractive to some, it has not as yet assumed any large
dead in Christ relate to end-time events. Their judg ments in these areas are largely determined by their broader eschatological conviction, namely, whether they are premillennial, postmillennial, or amillennial. Generally speaking, amillenarians, such as have fol lowed the traditional view of Augustine, have combined the doctrine of the rapture with the second coming of Christ to the earth at the end of the age. They seldom, therefore, give separate consideration to this truth and regard it merely as an incident in the total program which brings human history to a close. One, therefore, can hardly expect an amillenarian to deal adequately with this doctrine. Usually their writings tend to refute pretribulationism or premillenialism, as the case might be, rather than to set up their own doctrine of the rap ture. I thank Thee, Lord, for quiet hands That keep the sentinel hour of prayer And build an altar out of love To meet Thee there. I thank Thee, too, for busy hands— A sacrifice for others' sake, And those of gentleness that soothe The hearts that break. I thank Thee most for Calvary And Thy forgiving hands, so blest, That brought salvation down from Heaven And offer rest. HANDS by Ruth Gibbs Zwall Practically the same point of view is adopted by the postmillenialist of the conservative type. They, too, tend to combine all end-time events as having their culmina tion in the second coming of Christ, and the rapture becomes a phase of this program. In their writings like wise the rapture is given scant attention. It is only in premillennial discussion that the rapture doctrine has assumed any large proportion. For all practical pur poses, a formal consideration of the rapture of the church, including the debate as to when it will occur in relationship to other events, is a problem within pre- millennialism. If the view of the partial rapture concept be ex cluded, there are three major viewpoints advocated to day, namely, pretribulationism, midtribulationism, and post-tribulationism. Of primary interest and contrast is the post-tribulational view as compared to the pre- tribulational view. Post-tribulationism views the rap ture as occurring in the sequence of events described as the second coming of Christ. They believe the church will be raptured at the time Christ is descending from I bring my hands before Thee now W ith emptiness, to fill and use . . . Lord, make them like Thy loving hands, A s Thou shalt choose.
“ conclusions reveal a system of thought 99
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