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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Spring Edition 1998

Is The Terminal Generation Patiently Waiting For Christ?

    I heard a man say one time: "If Jesus doesn't  hurry up and get here soon there won't be any Holiness church left."

   
That classic statement reflects a mentality problem rooted in the gestalt of Darbyism. I am talking about Hal Lindsey's "immediacy" syndrome "terminal generation" mode of thinking. Such thinking St. Paul condemned as doctrinal heresy at Thessalonica in A.D. 51.

    The Thessalonian Christians were instructed to wait PATIENTLY, not impatiently, for the second coming of Jesus Christ (II Thess. 3:5). Long ago St. Augustine penned it well: "He who loves our Lord's coming is not he who asserts that it is near, or he who asserts that it is far off; but rather he whom, whether it be near or distant, waits for Him with sincerity of faith, steadfastness of hope, and fervor of charity."

    If one thinks that the work of God is going to fall through the cracks because Jesus does not get here today or tomorrow, then there is something drastically wrong with one's understanding of New Testament Christianity. Jesus is not so anxious to remove his Church from the world as Hal Lindsey and his antinomian gang of Darbyite end-time Bible prophecy devotees suppose-if he was, he would have done so a long time ago.

    Instead of being anxious to remove His church from the world, God is working to save the whole world in this present age by the power of the Cross, and he wants you and me here to make it happen. It won't happen, however, until we get rid of the terminal generation mentality syndrome-the dissonant dichotomies of Darbyism that are destroying us---literally swallowing us up in cognitive dissonance over the second coming of Jesus Christ--and rediscover the Wesleyan synthesis--a synthesis between faith and reason, between law and gospel, between Jew and Gentile, between the state and standing of the believer,  between divine knowledge and divine foreordination, and between the biblical doctrine of imminence and the false teaching of immediacy, or any-momentness.

    There are certain things that have to be held in a dynamic tension or they will rip one apart. The any moment ("immediacy") rapture syndrome of Darbyism is an imbalance that both attracts and repels. The devotionalism and emotionalism of the theory attracts. The irrationalness and unscripturalness of it repels.    

    Why should one allow one's self to be psychologically torn apart by a theory that the Bible does not really teach in the first place? Like it or not, friends, Jesus is not coming at any moment, He is coming at that set time in history that God has ordained. Our imagining that the rapture could come "at any moment" does not make it so, it only facilitates the creation in our own minds of structures that are delusional.

    What does the Bible itself really say? It says the rapture will happen on the "last day" (Jn. 6:39-40, 44, 54) and at the "last trump" sounding (I Cor. 15:51-52; Rev. 11:15-18). Those expressions can never refer to an event 1,007 seven years before the end of time.

    That generation that thinks of itself as "terminal" may soon get tired of patiently waiting for Christ's return, grow IMPATIENT, and take matters into its own hands, as if to force its own imagined end-time  game plan  upon the world by  acts of  self-fulfilling prophecy.
   
    Historical factors are involved. Darbyites are blinded to what those prophesied historical factors really are. Their FAULTY preconceptions propel them in the wrong direction, where they will invariably self-destruct. The only valid remedy is to give  the entire system of false teaching up. Traditionalism, ignorance, pride, and prejudice are the main issues that prevent most people from doing exactly that.

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