The pre-wrath, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation views are a wilderness of uncertainty and disharmony. There is no consensus that Revelation 6-20 describes literal future events, that Matthew 24 describes literal future events, that Daniel’s 70th week (Da. 9:27) describes literal future events, that there is a literal seven-year tribulation, that the 144,000 of Revelation 7 are Israel, that the day of the Lord is the Great Tribulation, that the Antichrist will sit in a literal temple, that the abomination of desolation and the great tribulation of Matthew 24:15-21 are yet future, that the ministry, death, and resurrection of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are literal future events, and that the coming of Christ is really imminent. About the only thing that post-tribulationists agree on, and are dogmatic on, is that there is no pre-tribulation rapture!
All of these things are settled by a normal-literal method of interpretation of prophecy.
I am sad to report that Pastor Charlie Haddad and Joshua Koura of Grace Bible Baptist Church of New Castle, NSW, have abandoned the fundamental doctrine of the Pre-tribulational Rapture and are wandering in the aforementioned wilderness. Though they admit that they haven’t come to a settled position (and therefore should be keeping their mouths shut as learners instead of teachers), they have become sowers of doubt and confusion.
I have a personal stake in this, because last October I preached a Bible conference at Grace and assisted in the ordination of Joshua. Now I must withdraw my participation in that ordination and my support of that church.
The following is a slightly edited version of what I sent to these men in January:
A man or woman should be able to join a church on the basis of that church’s published statement of faith and not be in danger of finding himself or herself doctrinally shaken by the very church that is supposed to be a place of protection and by the very men who are supposed to be their doctrinal protectors.
A man who is ordained under the pledge of holding to a certain doctrinal position, whether pastor or evangelist, and finds that he is no longer sure of that doctrine and can no longer pledge allegiance to it, should resign that ordination and any position he has taken on the basis of that ordination. It is a matter of honesty and humility.
He should step down and spend as much time as he needs settling his doctrine. If he is reconfirmed in his former doctrine and can pledge unqualified faith in it, he can seek to be reinstated to his previous ordination and position. And if he comes to a new doctrinal position, he must seek ordination from those who agree with him and plant or pastor churches that are established under that particular doctrinal position, and if he is a missionary, he must get support on the basis of his new doctrine.
Any man is at liberty to re-examine his doctrine, but he must do so in a right way and in the right context and be ready to pay the full consequences. It is no light matter for a preacher to change his doctrine.
You published a statement of faith, a statement that included an unequivocal statement on the fundamental doctrine of the Pre-tribulation Rapture (many consider it a fundamental doctrine whether you do or not), and it was on that basis that I and many others have had ministry fellowship with you and on that basis that they invited you to preach in their churches and teach in their Bible institutes and participated in ordinations at your church and recommended your church. But you allowed people to join the church who didn’t agree with what you professed to believe, and now you yourselves are no longer sure about what you professed to believe.
Grace Bible Baptist Church has become the church of the rabbit hole.
Like Alice in Wonderland, you have fallen through a rabbit hole into a land of confusion and uncertainty on Bible prophecy. And now you are trying to draw others into that rabbit hole under the guise of seeking help and the guise of Christian charity. In truth, you want to pull them into your rabbit hole through the process of endless questionings, endless discussion, and browbeating. I wonder what rabbit hole you will fall into next in your pursuit of the re-evaluation of settled doctrines.
I turned aside from some very pressing projects to spend some hours trying to help you by WhatsApp and email. I shared many teachings and relevant statements to the best of my ability. I gave prayerful thoughtful, Bible-based warnings. I have all of those communications as a record. I didn’t discuss the matter by telephone, but that is neither here nor there. The Lord is my witness that I have pursued this in Christian love and humility. In regard to your questions, I’ve either answered them personally or have pointed you to the answers. Other men have done the same. You have ignored most of what I have said, and what you have not ignored you have twisted out of context. I have been shocked by your attitude toward a grandfather preacher who has been studying the Bible and standing for the faith once delivered to the saints far longer than you have been alive. My communication has been swept aside as nothing.
I said to you that there are questions I can’t answer on the prophecy issue, as there are on the election issue and practically any other issue. I settle these doctrines by looking at the big picture. These doctrines are not settled by any one verse, but on all of Scripture weighed together. That’s true even for the biggest doctrines and issues like the Trinity and the Deity of Christ and the infallible inspiration of Scripture.
If you interpret Bible prophecy in a consistent normal-literal manner, which is a fundamental principle, you land on the clear distinction between the church and Israel, you understand that the 70 Weeks of Daniel 9 and Revelation 5-18 is Israel ground, not church ground; you understand that imminency, a plain teaching of Scripture, demands that church-age saints be Raptured before Israel’s program is brought back to the fore. As far as I’m concerned, the matter is settled. In modern times, it has been settled for more than 100 years. I took the time to give you a succinct overview of this important history.
I love the Bible’s teaching about the Pre-tribulation Rapture. It’s not just a “doctrine” to me. It is absolute truth. I have studied it for nearly a half a century and have no doubt that it is a fundamental Bible doctrine. It has been held by every biblicist movement that I have any respect for over the past century and a half. There are some things about Independent Baptists as a movement that I do not agree with, but these pertain to practice, not to major doctrines such as the Pre-tribulation Rapture. I see the consistent stand for the Pre-tribulation Rapture among Independent Baptists from their inception as a very important thing, a very good thing, a very powerful thing. The fact that some Independent Baptists are giving up the Pre-tribulation Rapture is a loud warning sign.
I am more convinced today than I ever have been of its truth and its importance. I’m seeing great fruit from preaching it, and I intend to preach it as long as I have the ability to do so, both with my mouth and with my pen. And I will do my best to keep the influence of preachers who reject the Pre-tribulation Rapture away from my church and family. That goes for the Independent Baptist heretic Steven Anderson or anyone else.
You persist in the false claim that no one has answered you. It is ridiculous. Though this issue has been thoroughly debated for 150 years and a multitude of books have been published presenting all sides of the matter, you are acting like you have come upon questions about the Pre-tribulation Rapture that no one has dealt with. Instead of consulting the answers that are available in many serious theological studies, you demand that someone personally rehash it to you. If, on the other hand, you have consulted the answers in the relevant books, why are you demanding that they be rehashed to you in person? There is only so much that can be said on this issue, and it has been said! There are no new questions and no new answers.
You persist in attacking the character of those who have tried to help you, claiming that they lack Christian charity and insinuating that they are motivated by pride, when you are not in any position to know other men’s motives.
A mere few weeks ago I was one of your favorite teachers, loved and highly respected, by your own testimony and actions (inviting me to fly a long distance to participate in Joshua’s ordination). Now I am treated almost like an enemy and have even been mocked. I haven’t changed, but you have.
You are lashing out at other men who have been close friends for many years. They haven’t changed, but you have.
You are trying to blame others and turn the focus onto others, but this mess is 100% of your own making, my friends.
THE REAL ISSUE IS DOCTRINAL SOUNDNESS. THE REAL ISSUE IS TRUTH. WE MUST LOVE TRUTH MORE THAN SENTIMENT, LOVE GOD MORE THAN MAN.
This business is a loud warning to those who have eyes to see. It is a warning that a man must be settled in his fundamental doctrines before he is ordained and before he starts churches. It is a warning not to allow people to join a church if they do not agree with the church’s doctrines. It is God’s express command that the church “be joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). You disobeyed that clear Biblical truth when you allowed a man to join your church who was not of like mind in Bible prophecy.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).
For more on this subject, see “The Fundamental Doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture”
CONCLUDING NOTE FROM A READER
“You are right to take a strong stand on the pre-tribulation rapture position. This is our blessed hope and the encouragement that Jesus gave to His Church, as we fight the good fight. Sadly, I left that position for over twenty years, favoring the pre-wrath rapture and then, for a while, the seventh trumpet rapture position. Over time, I lost my joy in Christ. I often repented of my fear of the judgments to come, my fear that I wouldn’t be found worthy to escape, my fear that we hadn’t prepped enough, my fear that I would lose my salvation, etc. It wasn’t that I was afraid to die for my faith, but that those days are described as something far worse than any kind of tribulation ever experienced on earth. I wondered why God would allow His latter day Church to endure such horrible tribulation, that could end with one of the weaker believers taking the mark of the beast?! I just prayed for strength, grace and courage to face the worst in that day. At the same time, there was also a pridefulness that had set in with me, as I had also noticed in others who held my anti-pre-tribulation view. And a disdain for those poor souls who held to such an easy escapist way out of tribulation. It was like we knew the truth and had some kind of deeper understanding of God’s Word. Thankfully, God led me to a pre-tribulation website back in 2016. I fought if off for a bit, and then decided to listen to the Holy Spirit. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I did. My joy was restored and I now believe it is absolutely the correct and biblical rapture position and a very important doctrine. Thank you for all that you do. God bless.”
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