This last weekend, March 27-29, William Bell and I manned a booth at the Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop. This is one of the larger gatherings of the members of the churches of Christ. In 1992 I got a booth at the lectureship, but, was promptly kicked out, when the head of the lectureship realized what we were teaching. Interestingly, he allowed a very aggressive dispensational booth to remain open, until almost the end of the lectureship! But, that is perhaps another story.
Anyway, last year, a brother contacted me asking if I would be willing to run the booth if he paid for the rental. I immediately contacted William Bell to see if he could help me, and he said ,Yes. So, plans proceeded, and this last weekend, we were able to share the word of God’s fulfilled salvation plan with lots and lots of folks!
I have to say a word first about William Bell, and what a wonderful "partner" he is! William traveled to help with this booth, although it cost him funds out of his own pocket. The sponsor graciously managed to get hotel rooms at a reduced rate, but, as everyone knows, there are always additional expenditures, and William bore that expense himself. I simply share this information, to commend his dedication to you. William and I go back a "long way" (early 80s), and his dedication to the cause of Truth is just a wonderful thing to behold. We have worked together in debates, spoken on seminars together, and we plan to work together on a book in the, hopefully, near future. It is because of the dedication of men like William that Covenant Eschatology has and continues to spread around the world. And, it is just a great thing to have friend’s and co-workers like him. By the way, William will be one of our speakers for the upcoming Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, in July, and he will be speaking on 2 Corinthians 5 and the resurrection. I can promise you this will be worth hearing! Now back to the Tulsa report!
I have to tell you that William and I agree that the Tulsa workshop was one of the most positive, encouraging and downright exciting events we have participated in! For the last 13 years or so, we have had a booth at the Abilene Christian University Lectures. At first, we met solid resistance, and efforts were made– one year successfully– to have us kicked out. However, through persistence, interest and acceptance has increased, until we have established good relationships and good interest. We have made many, many good solid contacts through that lectureship, and there are now many new preterists as a direct result of those efforts.
However, from day one of the Tulsa event, we encountered people that through their own studies are already on the road to accepting Covenant Eschatology! And, even when they had never heard of "preterism" -and we never used that term in discussions- they expressed the realization that the traditional amillennial view is flawed, and that they were looking for answers! WOW! Talk about exciting! Furthermore, we stayed busy almost constantly, with people eager to know what we were saying. It is just difficult to express how positively we feel about this experience, and I want to thank the sponsor for paying the booth expense– no small expense, and providing this opportunity. It is my sincere hope that we can repeat this next year!
Our large banner reads Can God Tell Time? elicited a lot of interest. Folks would read the banner, and come up to the table where we then engaged them in conversation about this problem of time. We also gave out, gratis, copies of my book Can God Tell Time?, as well as Can You Believe Jesus Said This? We did not pass these out indiscriminately, either. We gave them only to folks that we felt were expressing genuine interest. And, we passed out a lot of them!
One thing did become abundantly clear at this event however, and it demonstrates the pressing need to communicate the truth of Covenant Eschatology to the church. One of the approaches that we shared was that we are living in a time when the Moslems, Jews, atheists and skeptics, including college professors, believe they have found the Achilles heel of Christianity, and it is called eschatology! We shared with them that aggressive Moslems, Jews, etc. are increasingly using the imagined failed eschatological promises of Jesus and the N.T. authors to show that Jesus cannot be the son of God. As we shared with folks, we told them of the problem, and then, as kindly as possible, asked, "How would you answer this challenge?"
What is so horribly distressing, so challenging, is that not one person, not one person, said they could answer the challenge! 99.9% of them stood there, with a shocked, disturbed look on their face, and openly stated, "I could not answer that challenge." A few said that Jesus did not really say he was coming back in that generation, but we quickly dispelled that objection with a quick look at the Scriptures, and then, even these folks said they could not answer the skeptical challenge!
Folks, how distressing is this? When Christians openly admit that they cannot defend their faith in the face of skeptical challenges, this says something very negative about the state of the church. But… it also speaks so positively about the wonderful opportunities and possibilities for sharing Covenant Eschatology!
Those of us believe in God’s faithfulness, His fulfilled plan, have the answer! We can answer the critics! We can refute the Moslems, Jews and atheists! We can equip our young people to meet the professorial skepticism they will face in college! This is why it is so important to share this wonderful news! This is one of the reasons I embarked on my ministry, for I realized what a pressing need there is to equip the church to meet the incredible challenges of the day. Preterist Research Institute is dedicated to answering the critics and equipping the church for the defense of the gospel of Christ! Please help us in this effort.