Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Theology of TheEnd Time Harvest and What It Produced in My CLB

Can I just say to begin with that I have NO IDEA what I believe about the end times? Would you allow me that and not throw Heretic Stones at me? I know you will because you are such a forgiving group and you really don’t have to live with me.

The past month I have looked at the subjects of Positive Confessions and Sowing and Reaping. I also have been reading a lot on other’s websites about discipleship. I have found that so much of what I believe was not relational at all. There were so many formulas.

But as I studied, the one teaching that kept croping up in each subject was espoused in our CLB. This teaching actually gave rise to our Discipleship model as well as so many other subsequent changes in our gathering over the years. It was this idea of “An End Time Harvest.”

It went something like this: We didn’t believe in the Rapture (and quite often made great fun of those that did.) We believed instead that Jesus was returning for His spotless Bride – the Church. This church would be spotless but also VERY strong. This church would usher the Kingdom of God into the world. The Bride would establish the government of God in all areas of life, before the return of God, not only spiritual but financial and governmental and social. Along with the ushering in of the rule and reign of the King and his Kingdom was the belief that there was to be a huge end time harvest of people turning to God. Prophecies abounded about this event. For instance, sports arenas that were being built for our pleasure now was a plan of God to have places to hold meetings when this event transpired. Therefore planning and strategies were produced in keeping with this end time scenario. We (those of us who were spiritual enough to pay attention) were going to be good stewards of this event and be prepared, our lamps lit, so to say, for the event of thousands of people being saved. It would be like the great turning to God in Acts – only much bigger. Therefore we needed to get organized. We needed Apostles and Prophets, generals and solders. We needed solid and tight organizations so as to be able to rightly handle all these new converts. The question was always posed, “What would we do if suddenly we had 5,000 new converts show up at our church? Will we be ready? Would our wineskin be able to hold what the Lord had entrusted to us?”


An example of one of the plans devised because of this belief was in our Discipleship model. Our discipleship methods were honed down to 7 disciplines. Journaling, Bible Study, Prayer, Giving, Outreach, Rest and Teaching (taking notes of sermons). It was reasoned that we could quickly take our notebook with these 7 sections and teach someone in a very little time how to do each discipline. We could then disciple thousands at a blow – teaching them to feed themselves and they therefore would be able to teach others to feed themselves too. (More on this in my next post)

So we were thrown into a frenzy of preparing for this world wide harvest. If you question the need for hierarchy, they would point to the need to be ready for the harvest. If you questioned the need for our discipleship practices, they would point to the need to be ready for the harvest. If you pointed out that we did not need all the structure in place now for such a small group of people – because we all still knew each other, you were again pointed to the need to be ready for the harvest. If you questioned even the smallest things – like why all of a sudden would we need to refer to our leader as Apostle So and So instead of his first name – we were pointed to the need to be ready for the harvest and therefore titles would allow the new converts to quickly see who were those who were in charge and therefore could be followed.

In other words – you could not question anything. If you did you were an impediment to the preparation for the end time harvest of souls and therefore you were in complete rebellion to the plan of God.

You can talk to anyone in the New Apostolic Reformation or the International Coalition of Apostles and ask why their organization exists or why it is so imperative to have these organizations and their beliefs in operation and this will be the answer that is given. These people are in it for the whole domination of the world – of course for the pristine purpose of the Kingdom of God and his rule and reign – not their own rank in such a movement.

The theology is not to be questioned and therefore any practice that they feel is beneficial to the implementation of the “plan of God” is not to be questioned. Some have even inferred that these new Apostles will come up with new doctrine for this new day that will not be found in Scripture. That was one of the reasons given for titles when it was clear that Jesus taught something different. The sky is the limit, folks!

And again, we are back to the fact that when theology (good or bad, I’m not sure yet) is not allowed to be questioned and the practices that emerge from it also are not allowed to be questioned, you are not in a good place. You are in a dangerous place.

11 comments:

Sarah said...

Interesting to read... I think a lot of different 'end times' teachings have had various negative outcomes. (In China, Western missionaries were teaching people they would be raptured out before major persecution would take place. Then the communists came to power and much suffering ensued for believers). I'm with you, I have no idea right now. There's a lot of things that fall under that "no idea" category for me lately! I think I've grown a little more comfortable with ambiguity.

Anonymous said...

Two comments:
1. We have a biblical precedent of how we are to handle a hugh influx: it's in Acts! And funny, what occurred in Acts, they did without the hierarchy, titles, preeminence, authoritarianism, “seed” offerings, etc. They did it from house to house, (and dare I note here: mostly w/o the Scriptures, or multi-million dollar facilities.
2. The apostles gave themselves to the word and to prayer, not to ceo-ism, blogs, seminars and retreats, profit centers, etc. We instead are finding a devastating lack of servant-hood among those who claim the titles. (BTW: I’m ok w/ pastors having jobs and being bi-vocational as Paul found himself to be both on purpose and of necessity.)

traveller said...

Thanks for being willing to share your experiences and bruises. Your most recent posts are beyond my experiences so I find them informative. But I am so very sorry that you have been through this. I sincerely pray for Father to heal your wounds and draw you into his arms of grace.

co_heir said...

Wow. That's scary.

I won't throw rocks at you. Over the years I've become a pan-trib, pan-mil - I believe that it will all pan out in the end.

Erin said...

Hehe - I won't throw rocks, either. People in glass houses, you know.

We were also obsessed at my CLB with these "end times". Our kids will be the last generation, you know?

Frankly I don't really care anymore what the future holds because I trust God to know what He's doing...any anyhow, does what I believe about it have anything to do with what will really happen? Or, am I not a Christian if I have the wrong eschatology?

I guess in all, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it...

Heidi said...

I'm with co-heir: I've been telling people for years that I'm a pan-millenialist. It'll all pan out in the end, and that's the only thing I know for sure. Spares me from a lot of annoying "discussions" where it's not okay to challenge the predominant view!

Thanks as always for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Incisif et bien dit, Barb.

Tyler Dawn said...

Yeah, why worry about something that (1) we cannot change and (2) God is in control of? I am firmly convinced that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation -- meaning namely that we cannot figure it out ahead of time (or often, even after it happens!). If it was so easy to intellectually figure out prophecy then every Jew would have embraced Jesus as Messiah becasue it's so stinkin obvious as you read through the prophecies. Sorry Tim LaHaye, but I just can't read your books anymore....

But I was cringing as I read all that. I wanted to stand up and say, "I am Spartacus" because I was involved in that garbage too.

Cindy said...

Barb- i'm sure okay with saying I don't know. Want to know a secret? Whenever someone says the words *millenial or*tribulation in combination with the prefix pre or post, I am absolutely helpless to stop my auditory shutdown. I don't mean for it to happen, but it's like a master switch to my brain. I can't say I'm sorry for it though! I've grown fond of my inability to hear that garbage. :-)

Mike said...

Barb- I've been most combinations of all of the above, but I now identify best with cindy above, who shuts down in the face of certain knowledge about future things. Nice post!

Sue said...

Barb this whole series you are doing, it's great - it's like looking at a car crash, you know? I can't tear my eyes away but the whole thing is just kinda creeping me out :)