Baptist Press Archive

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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  • 'Blood moon' lunar eclipses not a sign, Baptist professors say

    by David Roach, posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Televangelist John Hagee's prediction that a series of "blood moon" lunar eclipses signals a "world shaking event" is a misinterpretation of the Bible, two Southern Baptist professors said.

    Hagee's prediction "ignores" a common style of writing in the Bible known as "apocalyptic literature" that "frequently contains cosmic imagery" to describe significant spiritual events. In apocalyptic literature such figures of speech are not meant to be interpreted "in a literalistic manner," Ben Merkle, associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., told Baptist Press.

    "The wise course of action is not to speculate about various 'signs of the times,' … but rather to keep your spiritual house in order…."

    -- Bruce Gordon, Houston Baptist University

    A rare sequence of four consecutive complete lunar eclipses -- known as a tetrad -- began April 15 and will conclude in September 2015. There were no tetrads between 1600 and 1900, though several will occur in the 21st century. A complete lunar eclipse is called a "blood moon" because the earth blocks direct sunlight from striking the moon, leaving the moon illuminated by refracted light which gives it a red hue.

    Hagee, founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, drew on biblical references about the moon turning to blood and said the tetrad signals an approaching event of major cosmic significance. This tetrad is especially significant, he said, because each eclipse will occur on a Jewish holy day: April 15, 2014 (Passover), Oct. 8, 2014 (Feast of Tabernacles), April 4, 2015 (Passover) and Sept. 28, 2015 (Feast of Tabernacles). Previous tetrads coincided with expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, Israel's statehood in 1948 and the Six Day War in 1967, Hagee said.

    National media outlets reported Hagee's prediction, including USA Today, CNN, the Houston Chronicle, the New York Daily News and Christianity Today.

    Hagee has a history of making controversial statements, as when he suggested Hurricane Katrina was an expression of God's wrath toward New Orleans. He also holds to "dual covenant theology," the belief that Jews can be saved by keeping the Old Testament "Law of Moses" unlike Gentiles, who must trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

    Hagee, 73, said he has been preparing for the tetrad for years and published a book titled "Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change." An accompanying online television special aired April 15.

    In a sermon posted on YouTube, Hagee quoted Joel 2, Acts 2 and Mark 13 -- passages that speak of the moon being "darkened" or turned "to blood" -- and claimed Christians would be foolish not to view the tetrad as a sign from God. Read More

  • Warrens help others 1 year after son's suicide

    by Diana Chandler, posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    Photo screen-captured from Saddleback Church video
    LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP) -- On the first anniversary of their son's suicide, Saddleback Church founders Rick and Kay Warren are using the painful experience to uplift others, incorporating Facebook, YouTube, a mental health seminar and worship services scheduled at Saddleback campuses this Easter weekend. Read More

  • Islam examined at SBC seminaries

    by Staff, posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    SBTS photo
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- With 1.6 billion adherents, Muslims make up nearly a quarter of the world's population. Seminary president R. Albert Mohler describes Islam as the "great rival system of belief." Read More

  • Jehovah's Witness prediction spurs evangelism

    by David Roach, posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- The 100th anniversary of Jehovah's Witnesses' prediction that history would end in 1914 presents an opportunity for leading members of the group to faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, a Southern Baptist expert on Christian sects and cults said. Read More

  • Disabled empowered through Baptist relief

    by Tess Rivers, posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    Photo provided by IMB
    BANGALORE, India (BP) -- Life has not been easy for Sabal Pathak.* Born with cerebral palsy, Pathak, 18, lives with his family in a rural village outside Bangalore, India. Although he is mentally alert and highly sociable, Pathak suffers from severe deformities in his arms and legs. He cannot walk; even crawling is difficult. Read More

  • FIRST-PERSON: Evangelism: an intervention

    by Mark Coppenger, posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (4 years ago)

    Seminary professor Mark Coppenger likens an intervention for an addict to God's intervention to rescue a person "out the poison and rot of self and sin." Read More