A dear friend of mine sent out his newsletter today that I want to share with you. If you're a pastor, I would HIGHLY recommend that you consider bringing S.J. to minister to your church. He is a true father in the Lord to many around the globe. And regardless of what others say about him, I think he's pretty funny too! Enjoy!
Stephen J Hill
May 14, 2009
I can't believe it's May already and time for another newsletter. I pray that you're continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and living in His loving embrace! I've been quite busy the last couple of months with trips to Louisiana, the Philippines, Texas, Illinois, and Holland. I also leave this weekend for meetings in Indiana. I've really enjoyed sharing my passion on the Father's love, as well as getting to meet some great people. If you're interested in keeping up with our traveling schedule, you can visit our web site at www.sjhill.com.
A VICTORIOUS ESCHATOLOGY
For several years, I've been deeply concerned about the prevalent negativity I've seen within a large segment of the Body of Christ concerning the future of our planet. It has made me realize that our eschatology (what we believe about future events) will determine how we live in the present moment. For example, in the early 70's, I watched as men chose not to pursue any higher education because they believed Christ was returning at any moment. Now, many of them are in their late 50's and early 60's, and they're disillusioned because of the direction their lives have taken. Some of them have never liked their jobs, and now they're wondering why they bought into all the speculation presented by the popular "prophecy preachers."
I remember a man who wrote a book years ago that consisted of 88 reasons why Jesus was returning in 1988. Much of his eschatology was based on the belief that what Jesus predicted in Luke 21:32 would take place 40 years (the length of a generation, according to some) after the birth of the nation of Israel in 1948. Still others taught that Jesus was coming again in 2007, 40 years after Jerusalem became the capital of Israel in 1967.
What's sad is that this kind of speculation continues to this day as the "prophecy preachers" scramble to peddle their latest products. And, I'm amazed about how dogmatic many of them are concerning their interpretation of Scripture, especially the Book of Revelation. But how many of you even realize that much of the prevalent thinking about "end-time events" is less than 200 years old? John Nelson Darby started promoting his new beliefs in the 1830's, and they were later popularized with the 1909 printing of the Scofield Reference Bible. While Darby's views were initially rejected by much of the Church of his day, they're now widely embraced by many churches and denominations, as well as many radio and TV preachers.
Now that I'm 60 years old, I'm personally tired of all the speculation and dogmatic, fear-based preaching about "the end." I'm tired of hearing so much about the Antichrist and the mark of the Beast when much, if not more, is said in Scripture about the mark or seal of God placed on believers. And, regardless of your views about the Book of Revelation (Please don't write and ask me about mine; this is not the point of my newsletter.), it was actually an unveiling of Jesus Christ, and not Antichrist.
Speaking of Antichrist, do you realize that during World War II, many in the Church came to believe that Hitler was the Antichrist? Later, it was thought that Henry Kissinger was the Antichrist. I even read a book about 12 years ago that suggested Prince Charles was the Antichrist. Now, I'm hearing Christians clearly stating that President Obama could very well be the Antichrist!
Enough already!! When are we, as Christians, going to quit speculating about "the end" and start doing something about the future of our children and grandchildren? I believe we've been given more authority in prayer than we realize, and we've been called to be "salt" and "light" to this world. And, that's why I'm writing this article. Jesus has invited us to partner with Him in the earth to help accomplish His purposes. There may be those individuals who want to usher in a New World Order and a One World Government, but why aren't we praying against it? Are our views of "the end" actually keeping us from doing the works of the Kingdom? I think this is a valid question that needs to be addressed by everyone of us.
None of us can be dogmatic about how things are going to turn out in the future. But I do know we're called to love this hurting world and model the Father's love to our generation. Each one of us has a sphere of influence, and Jesus wants to use us to advance His Kingdom. Can we please do less arguing about "end-time events" and do more to change the social climate around us? I pray you'll hear my heart through the things I've shared in this newsletter.
Thanks for your continued prayers. Pam and I really appreciate them!!
S. J. (Steve) and Pam
P. O. Box 910
Harrisburg, NC 28075