So today is 6/06/06, you know the day of the 666 of legend and lore and the book of Revelation and all that.
I grew up with the people who invented that most tiresome of heresies “dispensationalism” and although there were, and are, many admirable qualities of the Plymouth Brethren that was not one of them.
Utterly unhinged from anything like the historic faith of the Church “dispensationalism” has been the bane of modern Evangelical Protestant life, its proponents doing more damage to the life and faith of Christians than any secular conspiracy could have ever accomplished.
Some of it is bizarre like the obsession with 666 and the identity of the “beast” the “anti-christ” mentioned in a single verse of Revelation. Who is he? What is he? The theories abound and ranged from the reasonable, like Adolph Hitler, to the absolutely wierd like Ronald Wilson Reagan (notice the six letters in each of his names?).
But the worst damage is this.By getting Christians to focus so intently on eschatology (the study of the end of history) they fail to take care of the here and now and miss innumberable opportunities to make the world better and minister to humanity in the name of Christ. Suffering in the world? Hooray it must be the time of tribulations before the “rapture”! Stewardship of the earth? Who cares it’s all gonna burn anyway. The needs of souls? Not important because I’m going to hunker down and keep what I have for me and mine and you’re on your own. Besides come the “rapture” I’m out of here.
Dispensationalism doesn’t edify Christians, it panics them. It doesn’t make them mature but rather focuses them on endless speculations while they ignore the very real things outside their own front door. It makes Christians fearful of what should be the most glorious time of the world, the return of Christ, and worst of all it divides Christians from each other through quarrels started about things that even the Apostles did not know.
On this 6/06/06 day it needs to be restated loudly and clearly that the book of Revelation is about hope and triumph and the Lordship of Christ even in the darkest of times. It starts with admonitions to faithfulness and ends with the vision of the glorious city, the way the world will one day be when evil is vanquished and God once again dwells, like in Eden, with His people. As terrible as the beast or the antichrist or whatever or whoever he or it may be it will not stand in the light of the glory of the One who sits on the throne and in the end is as meaningless as the hysteria about this date and that number.