Dr. James F. McGrath of Butler University teaches courses on New Testament Language and Literature. However, anyone attending his courses really ought to investigate the heretical views that they will be taught at Butler University by professor McGrath.
Dr. James F. McGrath made this statement in bold on his own Exploring Our Matrex Blog:
It does not make sense for Christians to continue to expect a literal “second coming” of Jesus.
I also read online from his very own words that Dr. McGrath claims to be a reformed Christian in the same sense as a Reformed Jew. Reformed Jews are reformed for a reason. They no longer believe what the Jewish religion teaches. In other words, they are just cultural Jews. Dr. McGrath is reformed from the Christian faith that was once given, and now he makes his own Christian religion up as he goes along. His beliefs fits well with the other courses he teaches on science fiction.
Dr. McGrath said that he once thought the Bible was inerrant but he no longer believes that. Apparently all his critical thinking and human intellect has reformed his views from Christian to pseudo Christian heretical (if he even identifies with Christianity at all anymore). From the little I have read on his views, it seems obvious to me that he is on a mission to discredit beliefs that the Judeo/Christian scriptures should be taken literally or that the historical events even happened. Name the fundamental foundational truths of Christianity and Dr. James McGrath seems to take the side of the skeptics.
It really does not surprise me that biblical sounding courses are taught by people like Dr. McGrath who do not believe that the Bible is directly inspired from God. Universities are full of people with PhD’s that try to discredit orthodox Christian beliefs.
That said, his own liberal heretical views are not the reason for me writing this post. Dr. McGrath can believe and teach whatever Butler University allows him to teach. Nobody is being forced to go to Butler University. If you want your Christian faith to be tested by attending courses from heretical teachers, that is your prerogative. If you are one who wants to have more reasons not to believe in Christianity, I am sure Dr. McGrath will accommodate you.
The real reason for this post is that Dr. McGrath teaches a course on Revelation where he has his students critique commentaries on the Book of Revelation found on the Internet and then he publishes what his students wrote on a Blog on the Internet that he apparently created just for that purpose.
If Dr. McGrath kept the views of those that are obviously under his influence within his classroom, I would not have an issue with him. However, he publishes the critiques of Internet Revelation commentaries from students that are most likely primed by his course to be critical of literal interpretations of this book of prophecy.
This course by Dr. McGrath in all likelihood is the first study on Revelation that these students ever had and their term paper could be expected by any logical person to be written by the students to tickle the ears of their professor. The critiques of the students are not the issue, the issue is that McGrath puts them on a Blog that is indexed by Google and available for the whole world to read. By publishing critiques of Revelation commentaries by novices that know little about Revelation on this Blog he is doing the authors of those commentaries a disservice.
Dr. McGrath obviously knows that his students are not experts on Revelation or they would not be taking his course. So I do not know what motivates a man to then publish such novice opinions. I am not blaming the students (most of the students will only know what McGrath taught them). My issue is that Dr. McGrath is publishing reviews being indexed on the internet from people that he knows have very limited knowledge on Revelation. He is giving them an Internet platform bigger than their knowledge to attack the hard work of others. That is a cheap shot and in my opinion it is unethical.
I do not care if someone critiques my Revelation commentary on the Internet. That is not the issue. Even other futurists are not going to agree with me on every point. There would be no point in writing my commentary if I did not have some original views that could be disagreed with. Most crackpots that know nothing about Revelation that would want to critique my Revelation Commentary would never see the light of day in the Google index, but because they are students of Dr. McGrath using his Blog platform they do. That is the issue.
Those that do have knowledge and their own website or Blog to rank in Google have every right to critique my Revelation commentary on the Internet if that is what they choose to do and I have every right to rebut what they say if I disagree. However, I am not going to try to track down the students of Dr. McGrath’s classes each time he offers his Revelation course to point out where they missed it.
I believe I have read three or four critiques of my Revelation commentary over the last couple of years on that Blog he set up (two critiques remain as of this writing). Although all of those students did read parts of my commentary, they obviously had difficultly understanding that the futurist interpretation of Revelation uses the literal grammatical historical method of hermeneutics so it is going to be limited to using that method.
Again, I am not blaming the students, they are just doing a paper asked of them. Obviously McGrath’s prejudice against the futurist interpretation of Revelation is reflected in some of what they said, but there is no point getting into each student’s critique.
Many comments and emails have been sent to me over the years on my Revelation commentary and the fact is, that almost all have thanked me for producing this free work to help their understanding of Revelation.
I know any futurist view of the prophecies in Revelation will not please people who hold other views of interpretation but my commentary is not written to please idealists with their allegorical method of interpretation or Christian higher criticism skeptics like Dr. McGrath.
I suggest that serious Christians read what I wrote for themselves. They also need to realize that speculation on how the events are literally fulfilled is not the same as denying that the prophecy therein will be literally fulfilled as God indicated. There are difficult passages in Revelation but the overall prophecy is quite clear and not to be redefined by man. There are great warnings in the end of Revelation against those who would do that.
It seems to me that the students were taught the lie that those that use literal grammatical historical method of hermeneutics deny that there are symbols and figures of speech in Revelation. That is a favorite straw-man argument used against those who take Bible prophecy literally.
How many times do biblical literalists have to tell these people what we actually believe before they stop regurgitating the same lies? Figures of speech and symbology are recognized using the common literal method of interpretation. Bible prophecy is never all literal for people who take Bible prophecy literally. They understand that there are figures of speech and symbology in Bible prophecy and that includes the book of Revelation. However, futurists believe the author of the scriptures knows how to express and convey if his words should be taken literally or as a figure of speech. Otherwise there would be a failure to communicate on the part of the author. Most often the context and the author make it quite clear in context of the passage what is literal and what is a figures of speech. When it still is not clear then other scriptures are searched to find support. Christians should realize that scripture interprets scriptures.
If anyone is still confused by any positions that dispensational futurists hold, most of them and the rebuttals to these tired old arguments can be found on one website. Dr. Thomas Ice, and many other eminent premillennial futurist teachers maintain a database of articles on Pre-trib Research Center website. It is not like these straw-man arguments have not been explained time and time again to critics. There is this continual deliberate misrepresentation of what futurist dispensational literalists believe, and they probably know it but their students do not.
I will make one exception to not commenting on the student’s critiques and mention that one student said that I give no references except Chuck Missler and Lahaye in my commentary. Then that student assumes that everything else is just my own interpretation or opinion. If that student actually read my forward a little closer, the methodology I used to write the commentary and the main sources that I used in writing the commentary are given. Not to mention that there is a Bibliography in the commentary for good reason. Several positions I take are totally unique to me but most are at least built upon the teaching of many others. I cannot give references when my statements are building on the prior work of many Revelation commentators but I am not directly quoting any of them. Thus, the Bibliography.
There is no point to continue to go on to critique the critiques. Almost all of what the students know on Revelation is what McGrath taught them. It seems that critiquing Internet sites that have Revelation commentaries is going to continue to be part of Dr. McGrath’s Revelation course. If he wants to publish papers that students of his class are told to write on Revelation commentaries on the Internet and give them a platform for the world, that certainly is his right. However, as you see, I also have the ability to reciprocate with critiques of my own on his heresy and his Internet methods.
By the way, there is a way students taking this course can access the critiques of others students taking the course on an Internet Blog without publishing all the critiques for the world to read. You just use a rel=”noindex” command in the meta data of the header. In the blogger software that is used I believe that is done by just choosing to keep the blog private.
I know one thing, I would not recommend that you send your sons and daughters to be taught by someone who teaches courses on Christian New Testament Language and Literature but teaches obvious heresy and says “it does not make sense for Christians to expect a literal second coming”. It does not make sense to not believe in a literal second coming if one is truly a Christian. That has always been the position of anyone within orthodoxy of the Christian Church.
But like Peter said, in the last days there would come people like Dr. McGrath that would mock people who are suggesting that Jesus will be physically coming back to reign like scripture clearly says. Although Dr. James McGrath would not believe it, he is actually literally fulfilling Bible prophecy himself just by making such claims.
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.