Interpreting the 7 Churches as "Church Ages"

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    On another forum it was mentioned that the Philadelphian Age is over and we are in the Laodicean Age today.

    This is based on 7 church ages from the 7 letters in Revelation 2-3 and popularized by CI Scofield and his reference bible.

    Anyone want to share the origin of this interpretation or how it fits into YOUR hermeneutic?

    Can we biblically infer that we ARE in the "Laodicean Age"?

    Thanks.
     
  2. sdcoyote

    sdcoyote
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dr. Bob-

    Great idea for discussion. Here is my 2 Cents.

    1. All seven existed as church congregations in physical cities in the first century.
    2. The seven have existed throughout the church's 2,000-year history.
    3. All seven churches—as groups or attitudes—exist concurrently.

    In other words, I think Christ is explaining the future, by simply showing us the past. It has changed little.
     
  3. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I'll have to admit that I've been ignorant of that particular view of the seven churches. It was my feeling that these seven churches were churches that existed in that day, and these were the troubles that were being addressed at that time.

    I believe that the Word applies to churches today, but not that we are in any particular "age" - meaning just one of the seven churches.

    Dash my standpoint to bits if necessary - I stand ready to learn.
     
  4. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with all of these statements. And I'll admit that, even though it makes for good preaching, we can't be dogmatic about prophetic application of the 7 churches.

    Having said that, in light of recent historical events and the world-wide push for democracy (In the church and the world), it sure seems to fit. "Laodicea" means "rights of the people". Also the idea of thinking ourselves "rich and in need of nothing" (emperors wearing "new clothes" of holiness) REALLY seems to match the zeitgiest of our age.

    Lacy
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,139
    Likes Received:
    25
    Dr. Bob, the "church age" theory has been quite popular in our area, probably due to the influence of the Scofield Bible. It does not fit my understanding of the context of Rev. 2-3, my understanding of ecclesiology, or my understanding of church history.
     
  6. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. go2church

    go2church
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    6
    Hocus pocus eschatalogy (SP). It really is too bad there are great lessons to learn from the seven real churches, none of which deal with what age we are in in the current dispensation, which really isn't a dispensation but a parathesis in the great time line of history where things will get worse and then poof we're outta here. Only to return to chase red heifers with the Torah for 1000 years and the the goats and sheep hit the scene. Or something like that! Gee willikers how do you guys keep all this stuff straight?
     
  8. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    The doctrine of the seven church ages
    does not bear fruit.
    I'll be skipping it.

    BTW, technically speaking that is
    seven church sub-ages, for they
    are all part of the Church Age
    (AKA: Age of Gentiles. Age of Grace, etc)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Trotter

    Trotter
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/6412.jpg>

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    4,815
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to agree with Go2Church's observation about there being great lessons to learn from the letters to the seven churches of Revelation2-3. I have gotten hung up on them for years (and I do mean literal years here).

    There are many lessons, and many promises. One can learn a lot from these two chapters.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  10. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    There can only be one correct interpretation of a passage. If more than one, we are in trouble! But there may be many applications of that same passage.

    Prophesy especially is like this. One meaning to that day and age, but second meaning with future fulfillment. But this is truly faulty hermeneutic and "allegorizing" simple facts beyond recognition!

    EPHESUS
    63-96 CE
    APOSTOLIC PURITY

    SMYRNA
    96-313 CE
    PERSECUTED SAINTS

    PERGAMOS
    313-590 CE
    CONSTANTINE AND CORRUPTION

    THYATIRA
    590-1517 CE
    ROMAN CATHOLIC IDOLATRY

    SARDIS
    1517-1735 CE
    REFORMATION AND REGENERATION

    PHILADELPHIA
    1735-1890 CE
    REVIVAL AND MISSIONS

    LAODICEA
    1890-Now CE
    APOSTASY/SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST
     
  11. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    The "Church Age" garbage was started by a known charlatan, William Marrion Branham(1909-1965) Anyone here doesn't believe he was a charlatan? Here's a site with many quotes from him.

    http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm

    Here's a short summary of his beliefs & teachings:

    http://www.watchman.org/profile/branpro.htm

    History shows the 'church age' periods aren't correct. For example, the "Philadelphia" period encompasses some of the most corrupt times in Europe, and THE most corrupt time ever(the reconstruction era) in the USA. besides that, all the churches to whom John was told to write existed at once, and types of all seven exist now.

    In summary: The "Church Age" doctrine is just another invention by one of many religious charlatans that have appeared throughout history, and should be given its rightful place-the trash can.
     
  12. BCrowe

    BCrowe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dr. Bob Griffin: Clarence Larkin (and I for that matter) believed that the seven churches were: (1) Seven churches in John's day, (2) Seven church types that have existed over the years and will continue until the end of the age of the gentile, and (3) Seven distinct church ages where each church age is shown as the majority of church types. The last was revealed, as is most of the time with prophesy, after some time had passed to see the pattern.

    The whole focus of the prophesy is on how God looks at our times of history, not how we would view it. The focus is on the gospel and what man / church has done with it.

    Certainly today we are in the type of church period where Jesus is outside His church and the church is not aware of the fact. We do not worship God today ... our focus is on man and his "needs" (which noone can identify, let alone meet).
     
  13. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    History disproves the church age idea, let alone the fact that it was proclaimed by a proven charlatan.
     
  14. BCrowe

    BCrowe
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think history disproves the church age idea ... in fact it shows remarkable similarity to the events ... especially if viewed from God's direction rather than man's.

    I have not seen proof of Clarence Larkin being a "charlatan." Perhaps you can show me a way to understand that.

    Bob
     
  15. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    No it was not. Since Cyrus Scofield included them in his 1909 edition of a study bible (the year Branham was born!) this is not feasible!
     
  16. arttal

    arttal
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. All seven existed as church congregations in physical cities in the first century.

    2. The seven have existed throughout the church's history.

    3. All seven churches—as groups or attitudes—exist concurrently.

    4. During each of these period, one of the seven churches was previlant, today the laodecin church is previlant.
     
  17. KeithS

    KeithS
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    0
    Found this quote at the link below. Don't know how accurate the information is, but seems to make the church ages theory quite old.

    This interpretation of Revelation 2 & 3 seems to have originated with Joseph Mede (1586-1638) in his writings on Revelation, and gained a fair number of followers, including John Gill (1697-1771; see his commentary on the passage), and others. In the 20th century, Scofield's notes popularized this interpretation and dispersed it widely. J. Dwight Pentecost follows the lead of Scofield (as Dallas Seminary in general did for the first 50+ years of its existence) in his book, THINGS TO COME (pp. 149-153). A listing of commentators and writers adopting this point of view would be lengthy.

    http://www.tegart.com/brian/bible/kjvonly/doug/aisi1_12.html

    He also quotes the original Scofield notes about the four-fold application for the passage.

    Hope this helps.
     
  18. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    Dr. Bob:No it was not. Since Cyrus Scofield included them in his 1909 edition of a study bible (the year Branham was born!) this is not feasible!

    I STAND CORRECTED! ! Branham did NOT start this theory! I went to my library while my wife checked out the Net so I could both acknowledge your correction and post the CORRECT info.

    The first ENGLISH reference I can find for this idea is from Joseph Seiss, "The Apocalypse"(1900). I cannot find if HIS source is from what I've written below or not.

    The first reference from ANY source I can find on one days' notice(I still hafta work and tell my wife she loves me) is from Joachim of Fiore, a Catholic monk of Sicily, born C.1135 in Calabria. he believed he was living in the Laodicean period then; he believed Saladin, who re-conquered Jerusalem during Joachin's his lifetime, to be the forerunner of the Antichrist, and he believed in three overall church ages, the Old testament period being that of God The Father, the NT period being that of Jesus, and a third period, that of the Holy Spirit, soon to come.

    The first reference I can find for anyone systemizing this theory and assigning dates to its periods is about Nicholas of Lyra, a French Catholic Franciscan monk (1270-1349) who wrote the first known Bible commentary. The RCC soon abandoned the church age idea, but it popped up again in some Reformation churches, and has continued into this time, with its "biggest" advocate being the aforementioned Branham.

    I find that Scofield got the church age idea from John Nelson Darby(1800-1882) who founded the "Plymouth Brethren" & formed his own ideas about the church ages between 1830 & 1835. By 1838, his whole set of ideas became known as "dispensationalism". Scofield wrote his Bible edition with the intention of making "Darbyism" easily understood by the average layman. But Darby also believed HIS time was the Laodicean period, as have almost all exponents of this idea also believed!


    Both on the net and in my public library, there are about a gazillion works about the church ages and the 7 churches in general. Some are from cults such as the JWs or the aforementioned Branham spinoffs such as "Latter Rain", some are from independent nondenominational preachers, and many are from TURKISH TOURIST AGENCIES, as the 7 ancient cities were/are located in what is now Turkey.

    My opinion of that theory isn't changed, however; I believe it's WRONG, and should NOT be advocated by Baptist preachers or teachers. Why do I believe it's wrong? First, all 7 churches existed at the same time, and Jesus commands John to write to each of them at the same time. Second, types of all 7 exist simultaneously today, along with several other "types" not named in Revelation. Third, the facts of history don't necessarily jive with the umpteen hundred different time periods named in umpteen hundred articles advocating this theory. Seems as if the times most of those later folks call the "Philadelphia" age, roughly from the American revolution to just before or just after WW1, was one of the most corrupt times in American and European history, with many of today's cults such as LDS, SDA, JW, & Christian Science, were formed.And the exponents of the church age idea such as the above-mentioned Darby, who formed his theory right in the middle of today's "Philadelphia" period theory, taught that HIS times, in the 1830s, were the Laodicean times.

    While I accept SOME Dispensationalist points, I absolutely DO NOT BELIEVE God has TWO churches, one for Israel and one for Gentiles. Both Jew and Gentile are saved by the same Jesus Christ, in the same manner, according to the same Gospel. However, God has made some promises to both Israel and Judah, and some of them are now fulfilled in the establishment of the Jewish sovereign nation, and its great military power and growing wealth.

    The Church Age theory, like KJVO, is just another man-made theory that has no real Scriptural support, and is something to be disregarded by Baptists.
     
  19. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thanx, Keith S, for your contribution. I shall study this thing in depth as I have time, but that may be a few days, as I'll be most likely working overtime( I make BIG BUCKS working on a holiday) and still have my everyday family matters to perform.

    I find that I can study a newspaper and assign any of those "church ages" to today and back up those assignments with irrefutable news stories. Therefore I regard the church age theory as false.After all, it appears that a RC monk invented it.
     
  20. Pluvivs

    Pluvivs
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    I suppose failure in one point means failure of the whole supposition. The letter to the Church at Thyatira "590-1517 CE, ROMAN CATHOLIC IDOLATRY" seems to be a "fill-in" for the Dark Ages. I don't think many would say that RCC-ism constitutes true Christianity, either in type or practice (I am not saying there were no saved or Christian individuals during that time or in the RCC). But even if it did, I don't see a millinium of Catholics being praiseworthy for their "faith" in Rev 2:19. However, the rest of the passage sounds remarkably like their sins (fornication, idolatry, depths of Satan, etc.).

    -Pluvivs
     

Share This Page

Loading...