Monthly Archives: October 2008

J.D. Faust gets it, er, doesn’t get it

Among kingdom exclusionists, Pastor Joey (J.D.) Faust is something of an authority, having published a book on the topic — more an outline — entitled, The Rod, Will God Spare It? On his church website, he expresses frustration that KE writings are often banned by religious organizations like GES.

In an on-line challenge, Faust writes:

Robert (Bob) Wilkin of Grace Evangelical Society has banned Govett, Pember, Panton, and “The Rod: Will God Spare It” from all book-tables at GES Conferences. Yet, Wilkin teaches that some true believers will end up in “outer darkness.” Wilkin believes that these various warnings (i.e. in Hebrews, Matthew 25, etc.) are only figurative in nature, and do not imply that some unfaithful believers will be excluded from the Millennium and/or suffer any physical punishments (i.e. stripes, etc.). It appears that Wilkin actually believes that outer darkness is ETERNAL for some believers!

As a casual observer, I note the following: If Wilkin believes the warnings in Hebrews and Matthew 25 are figurative, he cannot believe — as Faust implies — that the punishment is “ETERNAL.” What is understood figuratively cannot be understood, well, how should I say it? — what is understood figuratively cannot be understood literally. If the warnings are to be understood figuratively, the punishments must equally be figurative.

We’ll have to leave it to Wilkin to explain the nuances of his argument, but based on Faust’s presentation, Wilkin’s views are not outrageous.

On a final note, Faust complains that Wilkin has ingorned requests to debate the matter, and he implies that Wilkin’s silence suggests deficiency of argument. I note that I have challenged Faust (see Kingdom Exclusion: A theological challenge — and I notified him by e-mail), and he has not replied. Should I ask, “Why the silence?” No, I should not. Faust is welcome to reply or not, as is Wilkin.

A. Edwin Wilson’s not so Golden Rule

a-edwin-wilsonConducting research on kingdom exclusion, I’ve been listening to some of A. Edwin Wilson’s sermons, which I obtained through various online sources. Wilson, along with Watchman Nee, may well be among the earliest proponents of millennial exclusion, the idea that salvation is not strictly by grace, but by striving for the kingdom. What I’ve noticed is that he systematically recasts scripture to fit his theological supposition. His analysis of the Golden Rule is one such case.

In an undated sermon (audio link), Wilson says, “The Golden Rule is only for saved people… [it] has nothing to do with the lost.” What follows are a series of examples to demonstrate the point. He notes that you would not give a con man your choice business leads. A judge would not free a condemned man simply because he would want to be freed himself. But this is a red herring: Jesus’s audience would not have understood the Golden Rule this way.

So Wilson’s analysis is based on a false supposition. What follows is an astonishing misinterpretation of the Rule.

Continue reading A. Edwin Wilson’s not so Golden Rule

Kingdom Exclusion: A theological challenge

Those who follow this blog know I have written extensively on Kingdom Exclusion, the belief that “carnal” Christians will be temporarily punished during the thousand-year rule of Christ (Rev. 20). The teaching is not widely known, but where it is taught, controversy ensues. My objection is twofold: first, it promotes salvation by works; second, it is nonexistent in scripture. The latter is the subject of this blog entry.[1. I discuss the first objection in my critique of the Word of the Kingdom, which is a variety of kingdom exclusion.]

The temporary punishment or exclusion of carnal Christians is not mentioned in Rev. 20, the sole reference to the millennial kingdom in scripture. Proponents of this teaching — J.D. Faust and Arlen Chitwood, among others — agree on this point.[2. I spoke with Faust on two occasions by telephone, and maintained a written correspondence through e-mail; for a time, I maintained an e-mail correspondence with Chitwood.] Though chapter 20 speaks of judgment, it does not depict the judgment of carnal Christians, yet this is the very place in which exclusion[3. I use “exclusion” and “kingdom exclusion” interchangeably in this essay.] is to be realized. It’s absence in a key text is fatal. Kingdom exclusion is, in my view, an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the necessity of good works with free grace.

Proponents of exclusion counter that the doctrine is taught elsewhere, that its absence in a key text does not signify. But, if it is taught in other places, where?

Continue reading Kingdom Exclusion: A theological challenge