Dan Phillips: The World-Tilting Gospel

November 23, 2014


“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”Acts 17:6b-7 ESV

Dan Phillips is pastor of Copperfield Bible Church in Houston, Texas. He has a Master of Divinity from Talbot Theological Seminary. He also writes for the collaborative blog Pyromaniacs, and his own blog, Biblical Christianity. He’s the author of two books, The World-Tilting Gospel, and God’s Wisdom in Proverbs.”

I’ve had in mind to ask Dan for an interview for Echo Zoe Radio for quite some time. His book The World-Tilting Gospel is a wonderful read, about the most dear subject to any Christian’s heart: the Gospel. For this episode, Dan and I discussed the book, and through it, the Gospel.



Nick Coldagelli: The Love of God

October 26, 2014


One of the most commonly held beliefs held by everyone, from evangelical Christians to unbelievers, is that God loves everyone. Christians often present the Gospel by saying that “Jesus loves you and died for your sins.” But is this what the Bible teaches? Who does God love? How does He manifest that love? How does the Bible describe the love of God?

For this month’s podcast episode, Nick Coldagelli returns to share with us his study of God’s love. He lays out what the Bible teaches about the love of God. He also addresses commonly held values held by most Christians that can’t be found in the Scriptures.



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Cameron Buettel: Hillsong

September 13, 2014

Hillsong_Church_New Cameron is a seminary student at the Master’s Seminary in the greater Los Angeles area. He also works at Grace to You, the media ministry of pastor John MacArthur. Cameron has a blog called “The Bottom Line“, and he also has a website at onceuponacross.com. It was on that blog that Cameron published years worth of correspondence and critique of Hillsong, which is a mega church movement and franchise based in Sydney, Australia. Cameron joins me to discuss Hillsong.



Ryan Habbena: The Holy Land

August 23, 2014

Ryan Habbena in front of Cave 4 at Qumran.

Ryan Habbena in front of Cave 4 at Qumran.

In February of this year, I joined Ryan Habbena and the Mount Moriah Foundation on a tour of Israel. It was my hope during that tour to sit down with our guide for about 5 minutes at the end of each day to talk briefly about the sites we had visited that day, but logistically that just didn’t work out. Instead, Ryan joins me this month to talk about the things we saw in the Holy Land.


The locations we saw, and discuss in this episode include:

  • Caesarea Maritima
  • Mount Carmel & the Jezreel Valley
  • Mount of Precipice (outside Nazareth)
  • Tel Dan
  • Banias / Caesarea Phillipi
  • Mount Arabel
  • Mount of Beatitudes
  • Chorazin
  • Tabgha
  • Capernaum
  • Ein Gev
  • The ‘Jesus Boat’ Museum
  • Beit Shean
  • Qumran
  • Beer Sheva
  • Valley of Zin
  • Masada
  • Ein Gedi
  • The Genesis Experience
  • Beit Shamesh
  • Valley of David & Goliath
  • Herodian
  • Mount of Olives
  • Garden of Gethsemane
  • Western Wall Tunnels
  • Pool of Bethesda
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Temple Mount
  • Wall Walk (North & Eastern Walls)
  • City of David
  • Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  • Pool of Siloam
  • Israel Museum & Shrine of the Book
  • Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum)
  • Garden Tomb
  • YMCA hotel Tower
  • David’s Citadel

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Richard Bennett: Roman Catholicism

July 26, 2014

richard_bennett Richard Bennett originally comes from Ireland. He was trained by Jesuits in his early years, and received eight years of theological instruction and preparation for the priesthood with the Dominicans. He completed his education at the Angelicum University in Rome in 1964. He spent twenty-one years as a Catholic parish priest in Trinidad, West Indies. He had, therefore, the best of academic training in things Catholic, plus twenty-one years of being a parish priest applying Catholic teachings to everyday life. After a serious accident in 1972, in which he nearly lost his life, he began to study seriously the Bible. After nearly fourteen years of contrasting Catholicism to Biblical truth, he was convicted by the Gospel message. In 1985, he saw that justification is not being inwardly just as Rome taught, but being accepted in Christ. He was then saved by God’s grace alone and formally left the Roman Catholic Church and its priesthood. He has founded an evangelistic ministry to Catholics called “Berean Beacon.” He joins Echo Zoe Radio this month to share his testimony and to talk about Roman Catholicism.



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A Look at the Rapture, Part 4: Imminence

June 25, 2014

So far in the “A Look at the Rapture” series, we’ve introduced the subject, laid out the basic differences between the Pre-Tribulational rapture view and the Pre-Wrath rapture view, walked through Matthew 24, and we took a look at the differences between the 70th Week of Daniel, the Tribulation, and the Day of the Lord.

In this installment, it’s my intention to address the question of imminence.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-39

This passage certainly leaves the impression that the Lord will return at a moment no one suspects to gather His elect. It is a key passage in the Pre-Tribulational view. No other single aspect of Pre-Tribulationalism has as firm of a grip on the people who hold to the Pre-Trib view as does the doctrine of imminence. The fallacy of equivocation, which we discussed in part 3, often comes up because it is necessary to the Pre-Tribulational understanding of imminence.

So just what is imminence? The Pre-Tribulational view of imminence is the teaching that Jesus could (and will) return to gather His church at any moment, with no advanced notice, and no signs necessary for it to happen. They essentially teach that, following Pentecost, there are no more prophecies that must be fulfilled before Christ can return to gather the Elect. The word “imminent” could mean that something is certain to happen, it’s only a matter of time. We speak of imminence in our daily lives in this manner often. For example, at the time of this writing, there have been tensions in Ukraine for a few months between the pro-western Ukrainians that live mainly in the western part of that country, and the pro-Russian Ukrainians that live mainly in the east. It seems that a civil war, or even a Russian invasion, are imminent. Pre-Tribulationists use this very meaning of imminent, be the certainty of Christ’s return is assured, not just assumed, as in the case of war in Ukraine.

Another way of looking at imminence is simply to say that something is certain to happen, and we know when it will happen. Independence Day, 2014 is imminent. We not only know it’s coming, we know it’s a week from Friday. The midterm elections are also imminent. They will happen on November 4th, 2014. Knowing the day does not make it any less imminent than the imminence of the next major California earthquake.

Along the lines of the second understanding of imminence, there is the case of knowing something will happen, and knowing generally when it will happen, but not knowing exactly when it will happen. In Minnesota, the first major freeze is generally in October or November. We don’t know exactly when it will happen, it could be mid-October to as late as the end of November, but we can be certain it will happen. If I don’t get the water in my irrigation system blown out before it happens, I can be certain I’ll be digging up busted pipe the following spring if I wish to water my lawn again. My dad, who blows out irrigation systems in the fall for extra cash, generally comes over sometime in the second week of October to do it for me.

It is this latter understanding of imminence that Pre-Wrathers look to in our understanding of the timing of the return of Christ. Having looked at Matthew 24, we’ve already dealt with this to some degree. Also, looking above to the quote of vs. 36-39, it would be the Pre-Wrath view that we do know the season of the Lord’s return to gather His elect (like we know the season of the first hard freeze in Minnesota), we just don’t know the day or hour.


A Look at the Rapture: Part 3 – The Fallacy of Equivocation

June 21, 2014

So far in this series on the rapture, we’ve introduced the subject, explained the basic differences between the Pre-Tribulational and Pre-Wrath views of the rapture of the church, and looked at Matthew 24, a key passage in regard to the timing of events leading up to Jesus’ return for His church. In this installment, we’ll investigate the differences between three key time periods immediately preceding the return of Jesus Christ at the end of the age. It is my contention that proponents of the Pre-Tribulational view of rapture commit the fallacy of equivocation in regard to these three periods, arguing that they are all different terms referring to the same period of time.

The distinction between these time periods is very important to the discussion of rapture. If these time periods are, in fact, the same, then several passages of scripture require a Pre-Tribulational rapture. If they are not the same, but rather are ways of breaking down a larger period of time into smaller periods within that larger period, then the Pre-Wrath view does a much better job of harmonizing the passages of scripture that point to the return of Christ.

The three terms, or periods of time, that we are going to look at here are as follows: The 70th Week of Daniel, the Tribulation, and the Day of the Lord. Because the proponents of the Pre-Tribulational view see all of these periods as being the same, and the terms as synonymous, the following description of each is the view held by the Pre-Wrath view.

The 70th Week of Daniel

Perhaps the most common term used to refer to the final few years at the End of the Age is “The 70th Week of Daniel.” This term is derived from Daniel 9:24-27

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, land to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” emphasis mine

When Daniel prophesies of “weeks,” he is referring to seven-year periods, or weeks of years, not weeks of days. This is not controversial, Bible scholars of all persuasions agree on the usage of the terms here.

Of the 70 weeks (of years) described above, 69 have already come to pass. From the end of the Babylonian captivity, which Daniel was writing from, until the time that Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt would be seven weeks, or 49 years. Immediately following, there would be 62 weeks until Messiah would come, minister, and “be cut off.” In other words, this 62 weeks terminates with the crucifixion of Christ. That leaves us with a total of 69 weeks that commenced with the decree of Cyrus the Persian to rebuild Jerusalem (Ezra 1) and terminated with the death of Jesus Christ.

Pre-Trib and Pre-Wrath agrees that this period of time is seven years in duration. There has been no serious disagreement over that of which I am aware. One week is seven years.

Bob DeWaay: The Works of the Holy Spirit

June 18, 2014

shepherd Bob DeWaay has, on many occasions, taught, written on, and presented on the Works of the Holy Spirit. Beginning in the 1990’s when a woman at his church wondered if the manifestations that happened at a Charismatic gathering were truly from the Holy Spirit as claimed by those conducting the gatherings. Bob works us through verse after verse in the Scriptures to show us exactly how we can know when we encounter true works of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to fraudulent works posing as if from the Holy Spirit.

An Outline of the Discussion
  • Many people wrongly see the “gift of discernment” as a subjective sense about whether something is good, bad, right, wrong, etc. They confuse it with human intuition. Others attend gatherings that involve various “manifestations” and don’t know if it is the Holy Spirit or not.
  • The way you know that the Holy Spirit is at work is that Christ is preached and confessed.
  • John 15:26 – “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” Gatherings with false manifestations and healings will be apparent in their false status in that Christ is not preached.
  • 1 John 4:1-2Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; There is a connection here between testing spirits and false prophets, the spirits work through prophets. Many “Christian” groups will claim to follow the true Christ, and will tell you what you want to hear, but will not preach Him from the pulpit.
  • 1 John 4:3, 5and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world… They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. False teachers claim an anointing, but their anointing is not from God, as is apparent in that they will not preach Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. A false teacher (such as Kenneth Copeland) can utter the words “Jesus is Lord,” but they do not preach the Christ of the Bible. Copeland’s Jesus lost his divinity on the cross and battled Satan in his humanity.
  • Revelation 19:10Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” True prophecy professes [the true] Christ.
  • 2 Peter 1:20-21But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a (matter) of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. All of Scripture is about Jesus Christ.
  • Luke 12:10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. Christ is the only ‘anointed one,’ and the Holy Spirit testifies of Him. To reject that testimony is to reject the only means available for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Acts 1:8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. The sign of the Holy Spirit is that we preach Christ.


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A Look at the Rapture, Part 2: Matthew 24

Previously, I began this series with an introduction to the issue, and a look at the differences between the Pre-Tribulational and the Pre-Wrath views of the rapture of the church. “Rapture” is a transliteration of the Latin word rapturo, which means “catching up,” and refers to the gathering of the elect before the Day of the Lord. In this installment, it is my intention to take the reader through the 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, in order to show how clear the text really is about the events surrounding the end of the age. In part 1, I asked the reader to read Matthew 24 before proceeding; if you didn’t do that, please do so now, before proceeding.

Matthew 24 flows directly from Matthew 23, which consists of the famous woes to the Pharisees, and ends with this passage:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:37-39

Then we proceed into Matthew 24, which begins with the disciples commenting on the architecture of the city of Jerusalem:

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:1-2

He’s clearly upset, but as long as he brought up His return and the destruction of Jerusalem, the disciples ask privately how we’ll know when to expect that:

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you dare not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom swill be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14

Already we are starting to see Jesus paint us a picture of the last days. In order to maintain the focus on Matthew 24, I won’t get into some of the parallel passages, such as Revelation 6, but I will recommend to the reader that you read that chapter to see how well the events parallel what Jesus describes here. Before you do that, let us continue.


A Look at the Rapture, Part 1

June 14, 2014

In the introduction, I described the beginnings of my views on eschatology, including my background as a Pre-Tribulationalist and my conversion to the Pre-Wrath view of the Rapture of the church. In part one, I would like to begin interacting with the two views, and lay out the case for why I think the Pre-Wrath view is more faithful to the scriptures.

Before I can begin interacting with the two views, I think it is important to describe both views, at least as well as I understand them. Having begun my life as a Christian as a Pre-Tribulationalist, I’ll start with the Pre-Trib view. Before I do, I’ll try to lay out the general Pre-Millenial view that both Rapture views agree on. I think it is worth stating that both views, in my opinion, have far more in common than they have differences. It wasn’t a big leap for me to change from one view to the other.


Both Pre-Tribulationalism and Pre-Wrath are Pre-Millenial views of the end of the age, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the restoration of the Creation to its Pre-Adamic, Pre-Cursed state.

Pre-Millennialism is the view that the millennial (ie. 1,000 year) reign of Christ on the Earth as described in the Scriptures is literal, and that His return, the battle between Heaven and Earth, and the judgment of the wicked will take place before the millennial reign begins. This is in contrast to and Post-Millenialism, which both see the millennial reign of Christ as figurative. Both of those views teach that the millennium of Christ’s rule is not a literal 1,000 years, but merely a lengthy period of time between Christ’s first and second comings, during which time He reigns spiritually from Heaven. I won’t get into any more details here, nor will I seek to refute or interact with the non-Pre-Millennial views any further, but simply seek to illustrate that Pre-Tribulationalism and Pre-Wrath agree on the nature of the millennial reign of Christ and they agree that He will return to judge the living and the dead before He begins that reign.


The distinctions that put people into the Pre-Tribulational view have mostly to do with the timing of Christ’s gathering of the Elect. The final period of time before the judgment of the wicked and the beginning of Christ’s Millennial reign is described in Scripture as a seven-year period of time. It goes by several different names, including: The 70th Week of Daniel (describing a “week” of years, see Daniel 9), The Tribulation, and the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (see Jeremiah 30:7).

The Pre-Trib view holds that Christ’s gathering of the elect takes place before this seven year period begins, and that it will be a secret gathering. In other words, Christians will simply, suddenly, and unexplainably disappear. No one will see it coming, and the unbelieving world will have no honest explanation for it after it happens. Many theories for how the unbelieving world will react logically proceed from this belief of a “secret rapture,” but none are grounded in scripture, they merely flow from a logical and philosophical progression of the view. One such theory states that the Anti-Christ will tell the world that “wicked Christians” were taken out to be judged (for any number of “sins” upon the world).

Pre-Tribulationalism also teaches that there are no preceding signs required before either the rapture of the church or the 70th week of Daniel can begin. They believe only that the rapture comes first. Many will say that it is unknown how much time passes between the rapture and the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week; that it could be minutes, or it could be years. Most will postulate that the time span is likely in the neighborhood of weeks or months, but probably not years, and highly unlikely to be several years.


As a person who holds to the Pre-Wrath view of the rapture of the church (again, this means the gathering of the Elect by Christ at the end of this age), I actually agree with much of what Pre-Tribulationalism teaches. In my introduction, I mentioned my pastor and good friend Eric Douma, who holds to a Pre-Tribulational point of view. Eric is currently teaching through Revelation in our church’s adult Sunday School, which brings him into many other passages of Scripture to fully explain the text of John’s Apocalyptic book. As I have listened to the audio of Eric’s teaching, I could say that I agree with over 90% of what Eric is teaching. Because I hold Eric in such high regard, and so greatly respect the way he handles the Word of God every Sunday, whether teaching Sunday School or delivering a sermon, I find myself especially frustrated over the few percent of differences that we share. I don’t get frustrated with people like Hal Lindsey any more, mostly because I don’t respect him as I do Eric.

With that said, I’ll lay out the primary differences that we have with each other’s points of view. As I progress into part two and beyond, I’ll interact with these differences, and continue past them into other differences that Pre-Trib and Pre-Wrath have with each other, as well as explain why I believe that Pre-Wrath is the better view.

To begin with, the conversion from Pre-Trib to Pre-Wrath that I went to can be boiled down to one simple change of understanding. That is the view of the specific timing of the rapture of the Church. Pre-Wrath sees the rapture as occuring at some unknown point in time during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. It doesn’t kick off the 70th week, or the Tribulation, but as ending it.

“Ending it” is an important difference of view. Pre-Trib sees the Tribulation as being the entire seven year period; seven years, with 360 days in each year (Pre-Wrath would agree that the Bible describes years at being 360 days, not the 365.25 days that we are used to in our Gregorian calendar). That’s opposed to Pre-Wrath, which makes a big distinction between the 70th week of Daniel, the Tribulation, and the Wrath of God or Day of the Lord. Pre-Trib sees the four as being synonymous. Pre-Wrath sees the last two as being synonymous, but otherwise are different ways of distinguishing the whole or parts of the greater period of time. Specifically, that the 70th Week of Daniel is the entire period, the Tribulation is a portion of that seven year period, and the Wrath of God (or Day of the Lord) as being another period that follows the Tribulation. This distinction will be important, as we’ll see in later parts of this series. However, you can see how “ending it” can be seen from different points of view. If the Wrath of God comes after the Tribulation, the rapture “ending it” (the Tribulation), is an important distinction. It’s completely the opposite of the Pre-Trib view, which says that the rapture begins the Tribulation.

I can’t understate the difference between the Tribulation and the Wrath of God. Pre-Tribbers see them as one-and-the same, and Pre-Wrathers see them as distinct and different. This is a major area of contention between the two views. Again, we’ll interact with this difference later in this series.

Before We Continue

One thing is very important for my case as I explain the strengths of the Pre-Wrath view, and the problems with the Pre-Trib view, and that is a proper understanding of Matthew 24. My good friend Eric Douma and I completely agree that a person’s understanding of Matthew 24 is fundamental to our understanding of the greater debate between the two camps of Pre-Millennial eschatology. Before we continue, I urge the reader to stop and go read Matthew 24. Read the entire chapter. As you read, be very careful to follow the text closely. Look at who is talking to whom. Look at what is being discussed. Look at orders of events. Be mindful of signs and non-signs. Consider everything in context with everything else. Try as hard as you can to keep your mind open, and don’t insert your pre-existing views into the text, let it speak for itself. As we continue, we’ll interact with Matthew 24 heavily.

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