Report on France Seminar
My wife and I returned home from France / London late Thursday evening, dead dog tired, but, greatly encouraged by our trip. I want to share with our readers a few things about the trip.
The seminar was held in a small village called Marcon, outside of Paris a good ways. It is an absolutely beautiful town, with historic buildings almost everywhere! The countryside is wonderful. Derrick Neve and his family were the sponsors of the seminar, and the event was held in a hotel that they own.
There were several visitors in the audience– the audience numbered somewhere around 40+ as I remember. Almost all of the visitors were dispensational in their eschatology. After almost ever session, especially after the first night, we had a very lively Q and A session, with two gentleman particularly, asking the huge majority of the questions. Both men were respectful, and pleasant in their questioning, so this was a very enjoyable time, and very profitable for everyone involved. Neither man–or for that matter, many in the audience– had ever heard of preterism, interestingly enough, so, I know that what they were hearing was quite a shock to them. Nonetheless, the interest in what we were saying was more than evident, and very encouraging!
Some of the topics covered were Can God Tell Time, Defining the Day of the Lord, In the Glory of the Father, Matthew 13 and the End of the Age, 2 Peter 3, the End of the World, or the End of the Age, Who Is This Babylon, and other lessons. I must tell you that the lessons on 2 Peter 3 and Who Is This Babylon had a very visual impact on many of the audience! I shared that Peter told his readers that Paul taught the same thing about the passing of the elements that he did. And, it can be shown that Paul’s discussion of the passing of the elements is exclusively about the passing of the fundamental elements of the Old Covenant Judaism. Thus, this means that 2 Peter 3 is about the passing of the "elements" of the Old Covenant world of Israel. Likewise, and perhaps even more stunning in its visual impact, I showed that Revelation is about the judgment of the city "where our Lord was slain." I showed that Revelation is about the vindication of the blood of the martyrs and that from Deuteronomy, to Isaiah, to Jesus, to Paul there is one consistent, harmonious thread, and that thread points to Old Covenant Israel as the one held responsible for shedding "all the blood shed on the earth" and that her guilt would be required in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
I presented a chart demonstrating the direct parallels between Matthew 23, 1 Thessalonians 2:14f, and Revelation, and it was clear that the audience had never seen the parallels. In a particularly telling, and wonderful moment, one of the two men-an engineer from Bordeaux– that had so vigorously objected, spoke up and thanked me for the presentation, and stated that it had been particularly helpful and challenging. He said he had learned a great deal. In some of the private conversations between presentations, this gentleman particularly was asking many questions and was clearly impressed by what he was hearing and learning!
The atmosphere of the seminar was just wonderful! Everyone was just eager to learn, to study, to discuss, to ask questions. Clearly, Covenant Eschatology was new to many, but, there was none of the far too common responses of name calling, anger, etc.. We were all just Bible students, eager to learn, eager to share, eager to know better the mind of our Savior!
I must say that working with a translator is a totally new experience for me! As many of your know, my nick name has been "motor mouth" due to the fact that I can speak pretty rapidly at times (well, okay, okay, maybe most of the time!). So, in order to allow the translators to have the time to stay with me, I could only speak a few sentences, pause, speak, pause, etc.! It was very challenging, but both translators, Raphael and Jonathan Neve, did a great job, and were very patient with me. One of the most encouraging things was that during some of the Q and A sessions, Raphael and Jonathan were clearly dealing with the questions very effectively, and answering the questions in such a way that the inquirers were either satisfied or stymied. Raphael and Jonathan are young men, but very, very sharp and have done a lot of study! This bodes well!
One of the most enjoyable things of our time in France was that for several days before the seminar, we stayed in the home of Derrick Neve, and his lovely wife Sarah. Each morning, 6 AM, we gathered around a very large dining table, with around 20 folks, and had a Bible study, before breakfast. There some other visitors there for the conference, and they joined in with us. What a great time this was! Our focus of the study was 1 Corinthians 15, and the time spent those mornings laid the foundation for some of those attending to better understanding what we presented in the seminar. Several of those who attended the early morning sessions commented that it was a huge help for them to understand everything else that was said.
There are over 19 million French speaking people in France, Northern Africa and other places. One thing that Derrick, Raphael and Jonathan are doing now is to translate some of my smaller works, such as Can God Tell Time, into French, to bring the message of Covenant Eschatology to another part of the world that might not otherwise hear or know of it. This is just very, very exciting!
I can’t close without a comment on the cultural side of our trip. Derrick and his wife took us to a Chateau that was built in the 12th or 13th century. For the life of me I can’t remember its name at the moment, but, it was just stunning! Virtually every king of France from the time of the building of this castle, used it as either a place to stay, or as a way-station. Huge murals of those kings– the original paintings– still hang there! It was just greatly impressive to me to walk the halls and rooms of that Chateau and to contemplate the events that took place there, events that even helped, at the later stages, to shape American history! One of the things that just coming to me time after time was that in this Chateau, and in so much of the countryside we visited, major, important, historical events were taking place before America was even discovered by Columbus! It was just amazing that as we drove around viewing the beautiful countryside, you would see houses-with people living in them– that were built literally hundreds of years before America became a known entity! Wow! Talk about history!
The same is true of our trip to London after the seminar. What a wonderful time that was! My wife and I visited the Tower of London, where Cromwell was imprisoned and wrote his History of the World. I got to see cannons that were captured from Napoleon at Waterloo. We got to see the crown jewels. In one of the towers, now a tourist trap, um, er, a souvenir shop, I noticed some scratchings on the wall, and asked the clerk about them. She informed me that the particular tower we were in had at one time been one of the prison towers, approximately 800 years ago, and that the scratchings were the "graffiti" of the prisoners! Wow, 800 year old prison graffiti! The thing that was impressive about this was– not only its age of course– but that the graffiti was almost all religious in nature. There were etchings of the Cross and other Christian symbols. The reason for this is that over the centuries, many of the prisoners were there due to their religious beliefs!
We got to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Parliamentary Building and Westminster
Abbey. These sites are just almost overwhelming in their size and historical significance, especially for someone that loves history as I do.
The one thing that was not so great however, was the cost of everything in London! Ouch! A coke cost $6.00 US! Fuel hit almost $8.00 per gallon while we were there–thankfully we did not have to buy any. Every single thing that we did was just exorbitant! Our thirty minute train ride to the air port to come home cost $95.00 US! We had inquired about a taxi, thinking it might be cheaper, but, it would have cost $150.00 US! Our hotel room was definitely not a five star, and although it was very clean, their idea of a queen size bed was two singles pushed together, in a room in which the A/C did not work! Thankfully, the weather turned cool and we could open a window at night.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable, and we think, profitable trip and seminar. The wonderful folks in France did a good job promoting and sponsor the seminar, and have already mentioned doing it again. One comment was made about the response to the presentations that is very encouraging: "A fire has been lit!" We certainly hope and pray that this is the case.
The Lord is doing great things around the world, and I want to thank those of you who are helping support our ministry, for enabling us to play a small part. Such endeavors are, naturally, very expensive, and your contributions to our ministry help us to go and participate. The good folks in France did a fine job of taking care of our needs, but, this is not always the case, and in many instances, we have had significant expenses out of our own pockets. If you can help further this ministry by your donations, we ask that you give it your prayerful consideration. Doors are opening, hearts are opening, things are happening!
There is a great deal more that we could say, but, we will close here. We feel that the Lord’s cause will benefit from this seminar, and it is our prayer that His name has been glorified by our efforts.