Will it never end?
Dear CRI Partner:
I really would like to write it off as simple ignorance.
Or perhaps just as lost sheep in need of enlightened shepherds.
But therein lies the dilemma:
The so-called “shepherds” ARE the ones who are lost!
If it were only the shepherds who were lost, it would definitely help my grief management. But because they consistently lead millions of others astray, I cannot help but fear for the long-term consequences of these “blind guides.”
Before you leap to the wrong conclusion, let me quickly underscore that I’m not talking about a loss of salvation. I’m talking about a loss of scriptural sanity.
My most pressing concern here isn’t a loss of SOULS.
It’s that so many are apparently losing their MINDS.
Before I go further, let me also be quick to say that I hope by now you know my heart. What I’m sharing here is in no way arrogant condescension or condemnation. It’s simply a heartfelt lament…
An aching and persistent lament that so many millions of otherwise intelligent people are so easily, so consistently, and so predictably led astray by teachers whose interpretations of biblical prophecies are fundamentally and tragically flawed.
I’m talking about the endless parade of Christian leaders — from Hal Lindsey to Tim LaHaye and from Jack Van Impe to John Hagee — whose interpretations of biblical prophecy lead multitudes of people into a sort of hermeneutical hysteria. If these were merely intramural theological “head games” — one set of theological concepts competing with others — I might be annoyed but not heartbroken.
But because endless pronouncements about end-time events,
four Blood Moons, and the irresistible and apparently incurable compulsion to set dates and timetables for the end of the world have been proven wrong for
HUNDREDS OF YEARS 100% OF THE TIME,
this recklessness does “double-duty damage.”
It not only causes many theologically juvenile and scripturally superficial Christians to abandon the faith due to disillusionment resulting from these inevitably failed predictions but also relentlessly damages the image of Christianity by making Christians appear to be hopelessly naïve and easily duped Bible bumpkins!
Although it’s clearly beyond my power to stop the madness or put an end to the morbid fascination with apocalyptic scenarios and timetables, there is something I can do.
And that’s to share how a correct interpretation of biblical prophecy can not only avoid all the silliness with its related dangers but also deeply enrich lives spiritually while equipping fellow believers apologetically in the process.
That’s why I want you to have an eminently practical version of my “prophetic S-T-A-R-S” acronym.
My desire is driven by several key reasons:
- First, to help you and other fellow believers to effectively mine the incredible riches of biblical prophecies by interpreting them rightly.
- Second, to place a simple but powerful and practical tool in your apologetics toolkit that will help you to credibly and persuasively establish the divine rather than merely human nature of the Bible in the eyes of skeptics and seekers.
- Third, to help you to express a clear command of key Bible prophecies and thus model an accurate and credible witness to a world that has seen far too many failures in the misguided pronouncements from popular Christian preachers and authors.
What will you learn from the content presented clearly and memorably in the S-T-A-R-S acronym?
Perhaps most critically, you’ll learn the vital difference between predictive prophecy and typological prophecy. This is where confusion among otherwise well-educated pastors and teachers has led skeptics to ridicule the Christian faith and many believers to simply abandon the faith flat out.
You’ll further learn that whereas predictive prophecy is fairly straightforward, typological prophecy is somewhat more complex. With multiple illustrations and examples, you’ll also learn the traps and errors lurking in notions of single-fulfillment and double-fulfillment prophecies.
In fact, I can say with great conviction that
only when the elegance of typology is comprehended
is the mystery of Scripture more fully apprehended
I’ve used the S-T-A-R-S acronym to communicate the uncanny accuracy, reliability, and depth of biblical truth reflected in:
- Succession of Nations — How six centuries before the advent of Christ, Daniel predicted with breathtaking precision the succession of nations from Babylon to the Medes, from the Medes to the Medo-Persians, and from the Medo-Persians to the Greeks.
- Typological Prophecy — How an understanding of type and antitype in prophecy opens the door to riches never discovered by those who miss the key principles of historical correspondence and intensification (for example, how the Passover meal foreshadows communion and how both point forward as types to the ultimate fulfillment in “the wedding supper of the Lamb” [Revelation 19:9]).
- Abomination of Desolation — How the prophesied abomination of desolation by which the temple was desecrated in the Old Testament and destroyed in the New is at once a bloody scar and a brilliant star enlightening our minds to the divine nature of the Scriptures.
- Resurrection Prophecies — How Resurrection is without a doubt the brightest star in the constellation of biblical prophecy. While all other prophecies demonstrating the Bible to be divine rather than human in origin invoke the supernatural — Resurrection embodies it.
- Superstar ABCs — How the words Ancestry, Birthplace, Crucifixion, Date, Extraordinary miracles, Fulfill, and Gentiles provide memory “handles” to help recall potent evidence of the divine inspiration of Scripture.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier letters, your prayers and financial support do “double duty” at CRI (unlike the double-duty damage wrought through flawed interpretations of prophecy!). They enable us to share these helpful resources with you while simultaneously equipping fellow believers at home and abroad to be credible and persuasive defenders of biblical life and truth.
With the New Atheists increasing their mockery of Christianity and with militant secularism now ridiculing religious convictions of all stripes, we clearly don’t need zealous but misguided Christians inviting further abuse through a misreading and misrepresentation of biblical prophecies.
That’s why in this new version of prophetic S-T-A-R-S, along with insights gained through years of serious research and study, I’ve added select prayers as well as questions for reflection, discussion, and — above all — application. (Unlike the definition of a conservative as “Someone who sits and thinks, but mainly sits,” my hope is that you’ll sit repeatedly with the S-T-A-R-S, study, think, and then share!)
My aim, quite simply, is not merely to educate. It’s to equip and encourage not only ministry partners like you but also eager Christian brothers and sisters who genuinely yearn for truth and reliable tools to defend the faith, but often receive instead just fanciful fabrications from unbridled imaginations on steroids.
Because in addition to all of CRI’s outreaches here in the United States we’re also increasing our outreaches to the Global South where the majority of Christians reside, I’m hoping you’ll help strengthen and expand CRI’s impact with a generous gift today.
As you read these words, work is underway through CRI’s “Going Global” strategy to translate “ABCs” materials (Apologetics, Biblical literacy, countering the Cults) into Mandarin and Spanish, the two largest native languages of the world.
From all that I read and from all of my conversations with friends and ministry partners in the Global South, there is a devastating drought when it comes to apologetics in any form and a virtual famine when it comes to sound biblical teaching.
Exacerbating the drought and famine is a tsunami of prosperity preaching. And making matters worse still are the cults who, like hyenas, stalk the weakest of the herds patiently awaiting their opportunity.
What this means is that your partnership will soon be making a significant difference. Not just to English-speaking Christians around the world but also to brothers and sisters throughout the Global South who are struggling to stand firm in the fight for biblical truth.
With these tremendous needs and unparalleled ministry opportunities in mind, I’ll ask you to please take just a moment to review the enclosed card.
Simply indicate through your gift amount the kind of impact you’d like to have, then enclose the card along with your gift in the envelope I’ve provided.
In no time at all, your support will be providing the vital resources and tools needed by Christians in countries around the world to be lights in what often feels like an ocean of darkness.
For the difference your partnership makes in so many lives on the home front and abroad, and for all that your friendship means to me personally, I’m deeply grateful!
…because Life and Truth matter,
P.S. I’m confident that the constellation of prophetic S-T-A-R-S I’ll send you will be a valuable tool in your witnessing and apologetics toolkit. And just as important, your response today can mean hope and help for those looking for the answers, insights, and tools that together you and I can provide through CRI’s outreaches.