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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition 2003

What's Gone Wrong With The Harvest?

One of the biggest problems we face in the modern Wesleyan Holiness movement, we believe, is a total lack of understanding the New Testament message of "the gospel of the kingdom." This is due, in large part, to the prevalence of the dispensational premillennial theory widely held among us, which teaches us that Christ's messianic kingdom was "postponed" at the end of Daniel's prophecy of the 69 weeks, and now awaits the return of Christ to "set it up" in an expected post-second coming Jewish millennial era.

    The Darbyite theory of the postponed messianic kingdom, with its resultant artificially-created dichotomy between the church and the kingdom, however, demolishes the very ideological formulation of the Christian faith, for the realization of Christ's messianic kingdom within the Christian system, as John Wesley rightly believed and taught, is the very essence of what New Testament Christianity is all about.

    It cannot be said too frankly, friends, that those whose concept of reality is molded by the dispensational belief in some parenthetical church age completely distinct from Christ's messianic kingdom are living in ideological bankruptcy, and can never adequately comprehend biblical Christianity. Unbeknown to them, what they in their Darbyism are really clinging to, as Wesleyan theologian Daniel Steele so well pointed out over one-hundred years ago, is "a substitute for holiness, or antinomianism revived."

    While this might be a new and disturbing thought to some of you who have never been exposed to, or dealt with, this deeper truth-claim reality issue, you must remember that we are not the first to say it: Daniel Steele did. In fact, he believed it so strongly that he wrote an entire book of over 400 pages soundly condemning J. N. Darby's fledging dispensational premillennial theory as doctrinal heresy, that, should it be accepted in the Wesleyan holiness rank, over time, would bring the movement to its knees in galling Bible-standards-of-holiness-forsaking worldly antinomian apostasy.

    Understanding what we have just said above, dear friends, goes a very long way toward answering the questions so many of the most concerned among us have about what's gone wrong with the harvest. Why such conditions of spiritual dearth in the church-world today? When Jesus promised his followers fullness, why are half of us running on spiritual empty half the time? Why aren't we having genuine revival that produces real righteousness in society anymore? Why has the Holy Spirit seemed to have lifted and there is no "conviction" on our altar services? Why are so many of us losing our kids? Why aren't we preserving the standards of Bible holiness is most churches? Why all the conflict, confusion, pessimism, negativity, declension, and decline?

    It's a simple cause and effect paradigm, it really is: in our Darbyism, in our dispensational premillennial theology--the Blackstone's Jesus Is Coming/ Larkin's Dispensational Truths syndrome that we old guards all studied once upon a time in Bible school somewhere--in our Darbyism, I repeat, the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously and we are very lean--majorily deceived about Christ's coming and his kingdom, and on the ideological skids to antinomianism, if not already there in the quagmire of the Bible-standards-forsaking conundrum of practical worldliness that we now see on every hand.

    We realize that many will not buy our alleged sowing and reaping paradigm of the modern Wesleyan Holiness movement's ideological bankruptcy in dispensational premillennialism, simply because of the fact that some of the great men and women of our movement in the not-so-distant past were the very ones who had taught us this heresy, in our Bible college classrooms, and from our evangelistic pulpits. How, then, is it possible to expect us to accept the fact that these godly men and women, whom we have so much confidence in, and rightly hold in such high esteem, could ever have gotten it so wrong?

    A less confrontational question is: who were they listening to, and, did they really understand what it was that they were then so readily swallowing?

    Friends, we have all been adequately warned that false teachers would come in the latter days (II Peter 2:Iff; Titus 2:14; II Timothy 4:3-4); we all know that the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of Truth, cannot, and does not, bear witness to doctrinal error (John 16:13 -15); and, we all know that the Scripture indeed does tell us, after all, to "prove all things" (I Thessalonians 5:21).

    So then, it is not God's fault, your fault, or my fault, dear friends, that some of the great men and women of our movement in the past did not "prove" the dispensational premillennial theory sufficiently enough to distinguish truth from error!

    The fact remains, however, that others did prove it, and they rejected Darbyism on the grounds that it could not be made to square, either with Wesleyan Arminian theology, or with the Holy Bible.

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