Chuck Baldwin is moving away from Pre-millenialism, and has endorsed Pan-millenialism, a humorous term meaning that someone doesn’t embrace a particular end-times system, but simply believes it will all “pan out in the end.” This may seem like theological inside baseball to many, but I think this is a pretty significant development. Chuck Baldwin posted the following post on his Facebook fan page. I’ll explain why I think it is significant below:
Another note about prophecy: regardless of one’s personal interpretation of Bible prophecy, this much seems clear to me: prophecy is mostly used by preachers to build crowds and make money. Before Christians become prophecy “junkies,” they need to get grounded in the “weightier matters of the law.” When asked about the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, Jesus said bluntly, “It is not for you to… know…” (Acts 1:6,7) Let’s quit pretending that we completely know everything about the Lord’s return. We don’t. Our interpretations of Bible prophecy are educated guesses at best. Next: prophecy seems to be a tool of many Christians to promote war and military aggression overseas. This is not only unscriptural, it is VERY DANGEROUS. Jesus plainly told us that we are supposed to “occupy” (literally: “take care of business”) until He comes–whenever that is. If pastors and Christians would get as excited about taking care of business in the here and now as they are about something that God Himself is going to take care of in the future (and over which we have absolutely no control) our country would not be teetering on the edge of tyranny and oppression. Let God take care of His business, and we start taking care of our business!
He followed it up with this post which is even more on the point:
People keep trying to pigeon-hole me into one prophetic camp or another. Just FYI: I was raised and schooled in the Pre-millennial, Pre-tribulational Rapture position. As I’ve grown older and studied more on the subject, I confess that I have become much more neutral. For one thing, I am totally disgusted with the way my Pre-millennial friends use the doctrine of the Rapture to excuse their laziness and cowardice. In the name of “Jesus is coming soon,” they sit on their blessed assurance and do absolutely nothing while our beloved country is being turned into a giant police state. They also use their understanding of prophecy to justify all kinds of undeclared, unconstitutional, and immoral foreign wars. If the tree is known by its fruit, the fruit of Pre-millennialism (at least nowadays) is pretty rotten. My bottom line is I truly don’t believe that we Christians are supposed to know the exact details of Christ’s return. My study of scripture convinces me that God purposely intended that we NOT know these things, that they are confined to the Province of God. I have further come to believe that it truly doesn’t matter much what one’s personal view of prophecy is. We have a duty to do; we need to do it! “Occupy” until He comes (whenever that is). I guess one could say I am a Pan-millennialist. I believe it’s all going to Pan Out according to God’s Sovereign plan. In the meantime, I want to be faithful to do my duty. And part of that duty is resisting these infernal attempts by big-government elitists to surrender America’s independence and liberties to a bunch of New World Order globalists. Regardless of your view of prophecy, will you join me?
Chuck Baldwin is an Iindependent Baptist pastor. It is generally safe to assume that such people are Dispensational Pre-millennialists. When I was touting Baldwin’s Constitution Party campaign for President in 2008, I ran into several people for whom this was a concern, since most of the people I thought might be interested in Baldwin were non-interventionists who had been Ron Paul supporters. They assumed that since he was a dispy pre-mil that he would be supportive of military intervention on behalf of Israel, even though Baldwin was on the record as a non-interventionist.
One of the things that struck me about his second post above is how similar it is to what I have written in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not accusing Chuck Baldwin of plagiarizing me. I was just amazed at how we had arrived at the same conclusion for the same reasons. In order to find somewhere I had written similar before, I entered “Red Phillips” and “Pan-millenialism” into Yahoo and this is what popped up
. It is a discussion thread on the blog Sharper Iron.
I have a few replies in the thread but note this one:
A pan-millennialist. I guess that is what I am. In my opinion the Bible is not clear on the exact end-times scenario. If it was, we wouldn’t still be arguing about it. I tend to believe this lack of clarity is intentional. (Other than the clear teaching that Jesus is coming again.) It is potentially dangerous to know the future, because it could affect how you behave in the present. It is particularly dangerous to think you know the future and be wrong about it. The post-mils and pre-mils are both correct when they condemn each other based on the consequences of their beliefs. Ideas (theology) do indeed have consequences. One should be hesitant about embracing a certain set of consequences when the theology it is based on does not warrant the level of certainty that many give it.
It is significant that someone so thoroughly schooled in the Pre-Milliennial perspective such as Chuck Baldwin has reconsidered, and it is noteworthy that the excesses of the pro-war on behalf of Israel crowd is one of the main things that prompted this introspection and re-examination. Is Baldwin representative of an emerging trend? My suspicion based mainly on the vibe I get from the political and Christian blogosphere is that he is.