While interviewing last week for a position at a church, I was asked a couple of theology questions that are rather common and very expected. The search team wanted to know my position on the rapture and the six days of creation.
Now, I love those topics and was more than thrilled to to discuss them, but this time was different. While I answered their questions, gave my position, and talked about how I would handle them with believers who disagreed, my mind and heart were elsewhere.
My thought was, “So what? What does it matter?”
Now, don’t get me wrong. These are important questions that I do have strong convictions about. I also firmly believe that every verse in the Bible needs to be diligently interpreted and that accurate interpretation is critical to our faith. I also firmly believe that one very important methodology to achieving that end is through active dialogue, disagreement, and friendly debate.
As I read an ever-increasing amount of material, though, about whether there is or isn’t a rapture (forget pre, mid, post, or pre-wrath versions!) and whether creation is a literal six days or not, I keep asking myself what purpose is of all this discussion and debate? What are we genuinely trying to accomplish?
There has to be more than who/what is right and who/what is wrong…and there is, but probably not what you think.
It isn’t about agreeing to disagree.
It isn’t about reducing theology to its lowest common denominator.
It isn’t just about finding “salvation issues”.
It has got to be about an understanding and commitment to the purpose of theology. Does our theology draw us closer to Christ and grow us in our trust and in our walk with Him? Does it make us more faithful servants? Does it make our witness shine brighter?
What I see so many of us doing as we seek an understanding of issues such as creation and the rapture is missing the primary points of the actual passages we are trying to understand.
…and as we do the enemy smiles, laughs, and takes great pleasure in our ability to take what is good and make it almost worthless.
While wrestling with creation, lets not miss the entire concept that God IS Creator. That means He is over all, rules all, and determines the purposes of it all. We answer to Him. We are accountable to Him. He made us and He knows us inside and out. He knows what ails us, how to heal us, and how to sustain us. As I type this I am sitting in a doctor’s office with my wife hoping to find out what is happening inside her body that is causing so much disruption in her life. Six days? Six ages? Right now, that doesn’t matter. Don’t care. What matters is that God knows her inside and out. What matters is that God has a purpose for her pain. As the Creator, He is also by default the Lord of scientific law and those “laws” answer to and are subject to Him. That is good, too. Otherwise there would be no resurrection from the dead. In case you forgot, that is a pretty significant part of it all, too.
When my dad died a few years ago, my dispensational theology and belief in a pre-tribulation rapture really meant nothing. It mattered not whether 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 was speaking of a rapture at all. What mattered is that Paul was writing those words to encourage believers that although we will grieve over death, we do not grieve without hope. Hope, because God raises the dead to life. That is theology that matters. That is a theology that gives power to our witness.
May we never quit wrestling to understand all that is recorded in the Bible but at the same time may we with equal earnest and purpose pursue our understanding in the context of our walk and witness. May we continually ask ourselves what our theology is to be about. Let us not lose, overlook, or miss those truths to which we anchor our soul as we strive to discern the finer details of God’s revelation and be satisfied merely with reaching conclusions about points on a timeline.
Besides, we all know that God created the earth in six, literal 24 hour days and Jesus will “snatch away” the Church immediately preceding a 7 year Tribulation…