Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reasons for Pretrib Rapture

Dr. Couch, I hold to the PreTrib rapture of the church but my elders do not. They think the church has to go through the trib in order to be cleaned up. Could you give the reasons for the PreTrib rapture?

ANSWER:  I wrote the most complete chapter on this issue that has ever been written! It is used in three nationally published books. If you want the full facts you need to order my Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, published by Kregel. In this dictionary, the full answer is given.

   You will be completely convinced by reading the chapter in that volume. Your elders are simply quoting someone else. They cannot substantiate what they say from the Bible. They do not understand positional justification and sanctification. They thus are very theologically ignorant and should not be elders!

   The rapture of the church is as defensible as the virgin birth or the deity of Christ. I still cannot figure out why some are so adamant about denying the rapture. They just "don't like" the doctrine but have no reason to resist so much. Some folks just cannot read! They do not know how to study Scripture. And they are great quoters. They just say what someone else has said!

   It will prove to me that those who do not order my book are showing that they really don't want to know the answers to this doctrine. The issue is over from my chapter! You need to get it!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Theology Used in the Bible?

Dr. Couch, is the word "Theology" in the Bible?

ANSWER:  No, it is not. But that's okay. It is two Greek words put together. Theos=God, and Logos=word, or study of.  Thus, "The study about God." Ultimately, everything in the Bible relates and points to Him. We cannot have a self-made theology. Theology is about God and we must receive information about Him from the source that is outside of ourselves. The source is the Word of God, not our own mind.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jesus' First Miracle - Juice or Wine?

Dr. Couch, I have some "fundamental" friends who say that Christ at Cana turned the water into grape juice and not into alcoholic wine? What does the Bible say?

ANSWER:  I do not know any scholar who knows his salt who would say that. I know of no reference that would speak simply of grape juice, though strong drink is mentioned, which was virtually liquor that was certainly addictive and harmful.

   The Bible warns of whiskey in Proverbs 20:1: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise." In biblical days they fermented grapes by putting them in wine-skins. The water in the juice evaporated out through the skin leaving the fermented drink, which we call wine. The wineskin also expanded and that is why that same bag, or skin, could not be used again because it had expanded by fermentation as far as it could be stretched. Christ spoke of this process in Matthew 9:17.

   The Bible approves of wine with moderation. The Bible is not advocating total abstinence but it is against excess. "Eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works" (Eccl. 9:7). And, "Men approve a meal for enjoyment and wine makes life merry" (10:19). "Wine makes man's heart glad" (Psa. 104:15).

   This is not to say that wine is for everyone. Some Christians in Paul's day felt that the eating of meat and drinking wine was wrong. Therefore, the "stronger" brother, who had no problem with the same, was not to drink in front of the other brother lest he makes that one stumble. "It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles" (Rom. 14:21). "Do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation" (Eph. 5:18).

   The Bible argues for inner spiritual maturity and self-control. Wine in and of itself is not evil but the abuse of it is the problem. Paul says that whatever is sin to you is sin. For "whatever is not from faith is sin" (v. 23). So if you are convicted to not drink wine, then don't do it! But please do not go into the realm of foolishness and misinterpret the Bible because you are a legalist or a "fighting fundy."

   I knew a couple who came out of the Funda_____ Baptist church movement. They never smiled, they were rarely happy, they were legalistic and would cut your gizzard out at a drop of the hat. They were self-righteous and wooden headed. They said that Christ could not have made true wine because alcohol in itself was evil. I pointed out to them that all Christians in Europe for two thousand years drank wine, thus I asked, "Were they all sinning?" And they answered "Yes." Can you imagine that every believer for two thousand years was sinning? The wife was a nurse and said there were two kinds of fermentations!!! How silly! They could not face the facts of John 2:1-11. They had a preconception that helped their legalism out!

   In John 2:6 Christ called for the water-pots to be filled with water. Some argue that they did not have lids so what happened inside of them could not be fermentation. This will be a miracle. Christ did not have to have the pots closed with lids to do what He was about to do.

   Notice when the wine was drawn out it was better than the first vats of wine, and people in those days served the best wine first and the not-so-good wine last. But Christ made wine that was better than at the first. "You have kept the good wine until now" (v. 10). This is not a group of Christians. It is just a wedding in which fermented wine was being served.

   Remember the story of the calling of Matthew. He invited tax-gatherers and sinners to a three day banquet. Christ was reclining with them at the meal. The Pharisees came and said to the disciples: "Why is [your teacher] eating and drinking [grape juice] with tax-gatherers and sinners?" (Mark 2:16). No, this was not grape juice, and the Lord was partaking with them, and witnessing to them.

   Because the industrial revolution in Europe, and in America, was so devastating on workers who went to the pubs and got drunk, in America Christians pushed for total abstinence. While this is a good practice for those who cannot take their wine, this is not what the Bible argues for.

   In the Bible Knowledge Commentary put out by the faculty of "old" Dallas Seminary, there is an interesting statement. God yearly turns water to wine in the agricultural and fermentation processes. Here in John 2 He simply did the process immediately as a gift to the young couple getting married.

   The great old Greek scholar Henry Alford gets angry with those who try to say Christ turned the water into grape juice. He says this is a "miserable attempt" made by some in that movement of narrowness to say that this was unfermented grape juice. This is a degradation of the Bible, he adds.

   I too get angry when people misinterpret the Bible foolishly because of their legalism and self-righteousness. Get the main point of the Bible! Don't reinterpret it!

   Now having written all of this, do what your conscience dictates. Remember, if it's sin to you, it is sin!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mosque by Trade Towers

Dr. Couch, what do you think of the issue of building the mosque near the fallen trade towers?

ANSWER:  While I don't like it, there are far greater issues that we all seem to be afraid of addressing. How did millions of Muslims get into America when we were all not looking? Why did generations of Americans in the past realize that this would not happen to our population? What did they know that we do not understand?

   For generations we had immigration quotas in place. The doors were open to northern and western European immigrants but limits were placed on those coming from other nations. You may ask, but is that not prejudicial? No, it was wise because they realized that you cannot mix peoples from extremely different cultures and religions. You will water down our heritage and destroy our cultural base.

   Liberals do not get it! They believe that all religions are equal but those who read their Bibles know better. You do not swing open wide the doors and flood your social structure with those who hold extreme views. The country will be destroyed. And of course that is what is happening right now!

   The liberals do not calculate religions in the cultural mix. They think it does not matter who comes in to the country because to them there is no difference between one group and another group. But there is and those of the past knew so.

   Before President John F. Kennedy there were quotas on those coming from other nations, except for those arriving from northern and western Europe. And there was what I call "Peace in the Valley!" Are not other religions pagan religions? If you are a Christian you know that they are pagan! And if so, then we cannot look upon them as the same as Judeo-Christianity. Because the Jews are God's blessed earthly people we should always make sure they are welcome. And so with those peoples coming from Europe. Now I am not saying that just because they come from Europe they are Christians. But their culture is similar to ours as well as their thought forms and belief systems. This creates a unity in our thinking processes, and that is important when you are building and sustaining a nation!

   Concerning the religion of the Egyptians, God warned that the people from Egypt should not come into the Holy Land. God said, in reference to the Egyptians, "You shall purge the evil from among you" (Deut. 13:5). And for the one who thinks the gods of other peoples were okay, the Lord said "You shall not yield to him or listen to him" (v. 8). You shall not even take in the booty from pagan peoples! Thus, "When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them, ... beware that you are not snared to follow them after they are destroyed before you" (12:29-30).

   A Christian American Indian was asked if he does the dances that his people were doing. He answered, "Oh, heavens no! Those are pagan dances to their gods and we have put those from us." He was also asked "Should Christian Indians have totem poles in their yards?" And he answered again, "No, those are worshipped because they represented our pagan gods." 

   Unfortunately, it is too late. We will not turn this issue around. The liberals will continue to push their agenda on us. And even the conservative talk show hosts fail to get this issue. We are doomed to be able to change the patterns and the direction the country is going. The majority of our population just does not "get it."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Progressive Dispensationalism Destroying the Bible

Dr. Couch, does not Progressive Dispensationalism (PD) put interpretation in dangerous territory? Is it not destroying a clear meaning of the understanding of the Bible?

ANSWER:  Yes, indeed, it is. The founders of this view of interpretation said when they revealed their system that they wanted to have a compromise system with covenant theology. They admitted they wanted the covenant guys to like them and not look down on traditional dispensationalism.

   I am not a dispensationist as one who simply follows a system. The Bible IS dispensational. That is the nature of Scripture. I do not have to foist a view on the Bible. I just take it at face value and the Word of God "interprets" itself. I read the Bible with a literal approach, and with a historical, grammatical interpretation. This is what the orthodox Godly Jews did with the Old Testament. What they come up with, I come up with. Christ did not chide the Jews for their belief in prophecy or in their literal understanding of Scripture. He chided the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and their legalism. The PD guys, Blaising and Bock, added biblical theology to interpretation, along with their approach to understanding Scripture. They say the interpreter adds theology in his interpretive mix. This is dead wrong. We develop our theology from our observation of what Scripture is saying.

   I know for a fact that PD at one of the "big" seminaries in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has blunted an understanding of the Bible. The students come out not fully knowing the prophetic Word. They come out confused as to what the Bible is teaching. I remember some years ago talking to the class president of that school and asking him what he was going to do when he graduated. He said he was going to Westminster Seminary in order to understand what the Bible said. He was tugged by Covenant Theology because of his confusion as a graduate from that big (supposedly) dispensational school. All he had to do was read the theologies of Berkhof and Charles Hodge to find out about Covenant theology. In their books he will find that the Covenant guys admit that Covenant theology is not in the Bible, that the covenants of grace and works are simply "implied" in the Bible, they are not "explicit." They were made with Adam, and Christ, in eternity past but that you can't find them in Scripture. What a dumb system! You need to read my quotes of Berkhof and Hodge in my Classical Evangelical Hermeneutical textbook on pages 158-59. You will be shocked at what they say!

   Dispensationalists can "prove" the dispensational nature of the Bible.

   PD and Covenant theology are just plain nutty!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Defile His Spirit

Dr. Couch: We understand how we can defile the flesh, but how does one defile his spirit? I find it interesting that we are responsible for external and internal defilement as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 7:1.

ANSWER:  By the way Paul pens this verse, we are capable of defiling "flesh and spirit." It is as if he puts the two together. He does not use an article before each word. We defile both together, not just one, such as just the "flesh." The passage reads: "Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

   The word "defilement" means "pollution, contaminate, stain." It is implying a stain of excrement. It can be seen and cannot be missed! When we make the outer flesh filthy with sin we also do the same to our whole inner being, our spirit. In the human being, both body and spirit work together. They stand in wholeness together, or they are polluted together.

   "Perfecting" in the Greek is a Present Participle of "epiteleo" meaning "to bring to a completion, to a maturity." To cleanse ourselves would be to confess our sins and walk away from those that are making us filthy.  

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A.W. Pink

Dr. Couch, what do you think of A.W. Pink? I understand he was a dispensationalist early on but became a full-blown covenant guy later.

ANSWER:  Pink went early to Moody Bible Institute but thought he knew so much that he left after one semester. He was a know-it-all who rubbed people the wrong way. He could never get a lasting pastorate and ended up rejected by almost everyone. I read his biography and find that he just thought too much of himself. At the last of his life he became very isolated. He did some good spiritual work in a little paper he published but it was unfortunate that no one could tell him anything. In some ways I feel sorry for him. God used him but he cut his own ties with people he could have greatly inspired.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mosaic Covenant

Dr. Couch, what is the difference between the Mosaic covenant and the dispensation of Law?

ANSWER:  I only hold to biblical covenants, that is, those that are called "covenants" in the Bible. (Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, Land, New) Thus, there is no such thing as the "covenants" "of grace (or redemption)," or "of works." Even the big covenant guys like Berhkof and Hodge admit that these are not explicit but, in their view (though they are wrong) they say they are implied, and they were made in eternity past, even before the time of Adam. In other words, the covenants of grace and works are made up by the covenant guys. But dispensationalists can easily see the dispensational changes that are obvious as the Bible moves along. A dispensation is an economy, or a period in the way God is working that is distinct from another period.

   Some dispensationalists make a big deal about the fact that a dispensation is not about a specific period of time. While it is true that the word does not reflect the idea of a time-period, still a dispensation differentiates one time period from another. Thus, time is involved! 

   The Mosaic covenant is called "a covenant," so therefore, it is! We can observe the changes in time and in history, in the way God is dealing with people in Scripture. Thus, we can observe the changes that took place when God gave Moses the law covenant. This was now a different period than the way He dealt with the Fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And the law dispensation will be done away with, and we will move to the dispensation of the New covenant, or the church dispensation.

   We OBSERVE and can SEE the dispensations, the obvious changes from one period to the next. This is not hard to do, unless one is brainwashed by the mindless arguments of the covenant guys. 

   This is really simple and easy to follow—it is not complicated or hard to understand. It is just that Covenant guys are locked in to what they perceive in their minds and they totally miss what the Bible is saying.

   Charles Hodge believed in the dispensations. See my book Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics. However, he did not believe in the dispensation of the coming kingdom.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Psalm 41 and the Sermon and the Mount

Dr. Couch, some say that The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) comes from Psalm 41. Is this true? By the way, we pass on to you, Dr. Couch, a great big thanks for having Dr. Unger's OT Commentary reprinted. It is such a blessing. You had great insight in having it restored and not lost to history.

ANSWER:  There is no way to prove that. Because Psalm 41 mentions a "blessing" three times and God's protection, makes some that that it does. But I am not sure. Without a doubt there are some parallels in both readings.

   There are some great verses in Psalm 41. For example, "As for me, You uphold m in my integrity, and You set me in Your presence forever. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen, and Amen" (vv. 12-13).

     Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch (9/10)