Dialogs and Commentary

A Framework for Discerning Apocalyptic Visions


Introduction, Background, and Context

In May of 1999, Reggie Kelly of the Ben Israel community asked us to "put in writing" some of the concerns we had discussed over the years about ministries primarily focused on the End Times. For in this venue we saw certain uncomfortable similarities to the Essene teachings (in the DSS of Qumran) of Jesus' day as well as the many shameful mistakes in modern times that have besmirched the Name of the Lord. The idea was to "make plain" the points we were making so that they could be addressed more formally and resolved in a godly manner, as this was in the spirit of friendly exchange. Care was taken to write the document to the general case with a view to be thorough, and thus issues were raised that Ben Israel would heartily agree with and be a godly example of. But the overall issue had come up again as some in the Ben Israel community were flirting with the fearmongering error of Y2K teaching, including the stockpiling of grain and the like, as well as several other lingering issues of concern. Thus, it was requested that we document why we keep bringing up these same issues year after year. This seemed like a good idea, to make plain the specific methodology of discernment and epistemology of how teachings should be tested as a sort of template / framework that could then be used for any group, emphasis, or End Times "vision".

Through the process of many conversations in July of 1999 we finished a first draft and sent it to Art Katz and Reggie Kelly. While some of the points are forcefully made, they are no more so in writing than when we have had these discussions verbally over the years. Since these were issues of general interest and concern at the time, we sent copies to others whom we thought it would be challenging or edifying or clarifying for review. The feedback that we received in general was that this was a timely and much needed teaching in the modern church. Oddly, we got no response from Art or Reggie at all. When we repeatedly contacted Ben Israel to inquire and complain about this, we were told that a response was forthcoming--in late 1999. Well, nearly two years have gone by and still no response, either written or verbal.

While we agree with most of Ben Israel's public teaching, it is saddening to see this unwillingness to consider with us these few potential problem areas, or simply to agree in other obvious areas where they are exemplary and others are in danger, especially given the constructive and edifying exchanges we have had in the past.

In any case, we believe that others in the body might find these considerations useful since Jesus told us to explicitly to "watch out," and thus we post them with the above explanation of the context and reason and time-period for which they were written.

1Thes 5:21 (NKJ) Test all things; hold fast what is good.

For our present readers, please let us know if you find this useful or have any counterpoints, corrections, or further insights. If Ben Israel ever does respond, we will correct/improve the document as needed.

1Tim 4:16 (Wey) Be on your guard as to yourself and your teaching. Persevere in these things; for by doing this you will make certain your own salvation and that of your hearers.

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