You are hereA Little Story of Prophecy and Progress (or: I Wouldn't Trade it for the World)

A Little Story of Prophecy and Progress (or: I Wouldn't Trade it for the World)

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By Virgil - Posted on 10 October 2003

Have you ever experienced something hard, something difficult, and later realized it was a phenomenal blessing from God? I remember writing in my journal years ago “God is more interested in our progress than in our comfort.” In approximately 1970 my wife Mary Jane and I began a journey that continues today. There have been hardships, prices to pay, and names to be called. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…the God fully revealed through Jesus the Christ, has made provision by His restored, active presence. Even in our present work, the Miami Valley Church, God has always provided. Interestingly, he has always blessed us with our needs, but he’s never blessed us so much that we can do without Him. That surely seems like the best way to be blessed. And we are in need. Would you walk along with me for a few moments?As a ministerial student at a Christian university back in ’69 & ’70 I knew a lot more than I do now. I thought I knew it all back then. I mean, for the price of tuition I was being given all the answers. By the way, I believe I had some of the best Bible professors in America…I was thanking God for them name by name this morning. However, on a visit to my home congregation I encountered challenging thoughts about prophecy that at first seemed patently absurd. A gentleman, and I do mean gentleman, named Max King had done a “gospel meeting” that led those folks to restudy the prophetic promises of God. My initial involvement in studying these matters was to expose what I thought was the silliness of Mr. King’s teaching that Matthew 24 was a unified whole finding its complete fulfillment by the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (likewise the book of Revelation). As I set about studying the scriptures themselves, I discovered the reason for my thinking Mr. King’s views to be silly. The reason turned out not to be because of how much I knew, but how little I knew.

I found that every single prophetic text in the Bible that contained time statements consistently revealed that Jesus, the apostles, and the first century church believed and taught that Jesus would return, judgment would occur, the end would come and the “consummation of all things” would take place within their life expectancy. Whether the phrasing was “ before some of you taste death”, or “this generation will not pass away”, or “at hand…soon…near, has come…in a very little while”, or “ the judge is standing at the door” there was a remarkable consistency. So remarkable and obvious that opponents of Christianity have used these texts, along with the traditional futurist interpretation of them, to argue against inspiration and the divinity of Christ.

I also found through a more diligent study of the prophets glorious texts in which these prophets spoke of God coming on clouds, burning up the earth, dimming the sun, moon and stars…describing events already (from our perspective) historically fulfilled. ( See Isaiah 13, Isaiah 19:1, Zephaniah 3, Amos 9…and don’t you just delight in the description of the fierceness of God’s love for us in Psalms 18, replete with majestic symbols of smoke and fire and clouds). Finding this same figurative language in the New Testament attached to time statements which confine the fulfillment of those prophecies to the first century, I began to understand our spiritual king established a spiritual kingdom, and came in spirit to dwell in His new spiritual house (i.e.-temple)-us, and signified this by the destruction of the physical prototype house (i.e.- the Jewish temple).

Well, that certainly didn’t put me in the best graces of the Bible department. I became an “outie” not an “innie”. Upon graduation, a friend along with Mary Jane and I moved to a small town and established a mission church (which continues to serve God to this day). At first I worked in a fiberglass factory to support myself. Later, I found a church in the south that supported us to work full time in ministry. When they encountered my fulfilled view of prophecy, though they had no scriptural argument to counter this, they demanded I recant and toss my copy of Max King’s SPIRIT OF PROPHECY in the trash or I would be cut off immediately. They said I would never preach again. I believed God was able to sustain me with His realized presence. I remember the long drive home. I had no idea how I would support my family, but I knew I couldn’t recant what I had found to be wondrously true. And God graciously provided. He has allowed me to continue in full time ministry without any lapses, even though being labeled a heretic verbally as well as in national publications. With God all things are possible.

In 1973 we moved back to my home congregation and experienced a tripling of the size of the congregation. During the next few years, my primary concern was to reach the lost with the saving message of Jesus. I was also moved by the conviction that if God worked through the ages to create a new kingdom in which we would be restored to full fellowship with Him, and if through the Christ He had finished this work and made it available to us, then He would surely want the world to know. Otherwise it would be like someone possessing a valuable rare coin worth millions but not realizing its worth and therefore their richness. Toward both these ends I started a small school of biblical studies, Northeast Ohio Bible College. I hoped see ministers, missionaries, and any Christians who desired find training in the word, how to reach the lost, and fulfilled prophecy. The original faculty included men deep in understanding, men like Max King, C.D. Beagle, Marvin Jacobs, and eventually Ed Stevens. At one point we had a few full time students, and about 35 part time students enrolled in classes.

Through a turn of events, we were asked to come work with another congregation. I met with the leadership of that congregation and explained my views. They were persistent in urging me come, and felt my views would be no problem if I held them as my personal views and not make them a test of fellowship. We moved there and enjoyed some of the best fellowship ever. As more and more people became aware of my views of fulfilled prophecy, folks began to study for themselves. Many came to see these things as an accurate understanding of the word. The church grew and we had a great fellowship of love and grace….until…a very legalistic preacher, recently fired in another state, moved to town. Upon becoming aware of my views, he set about causing disturbance and crusading to have me fired. He did not succeed in the latter, but truly put the congregation through a wringer.

After 12 years, we were asked to come to Indiana to help establish a new congregation. We did so, and found excellent fellowship and growth. That congregation also continues in the work of the gospel to this day.

A few friends in Ohio inquired about us coming back to the Buckeye state. We met several times to pray and talk about how this might be done in a way which God would approve. In my personal prayers and meditations I began to dream of beginning a mission congregation in which there would be a special environment. Environment is so important. A nail rusts in a bottle of coke; an oak tree withers when planted in the desert sun. A flower opens to full blossom in fertile soil, with generous rain and sparkling sunlight. The human spirit withers in an environment of caustic legalism. I asked, “ What is the environment God has created for the human spirit through the complete and effective work of the messiah?” In 1 Corinthians 13, when Paul was speaking of the things that were passing away he anticipated the question “What will remain?” By the guidance of the Holy Spirit he wrote, “ So faith, hope and love abide, these three.” To the Romans he wrote, “You are saved by grace.” And to the Corinthians, in light of the approaching destruction of the physical Jewish temple, he explained “ For we are the temple of the living God; as God said “ I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters…” I prayed for God’s help to establish a local church environment saturated with faith, hope, love and grace. And with these an awareness of His restored presence. Talk about “environmental impact”…the greatest impact on a person’s environment is the restoration of God’s presence to his or her life; i.e.-when his or her life once again becomes the habitation of God. That’s what was lost in the garden. The restoration of His presence was the object of prophetic utterances of the Old Covenant. And what God promised through the prophets was being fulfilled right before the eyes (Acts 3:24) of the first century church (a temple cleansed by the blood of the true Passover lamb, and being made ready for his coming into that new dwelling place of God in the spirit; Eph.2:11-22). Over the years Max, Tim and Doug King, have worked diligently to advance understanding of prophecy. They’ve suffered for the cause of understanding, but God has sustained them. Their Covenant Eschatology Seminars, at which I’ve spoken numerous times, and their Presence Ministries (www.presence.tv) have touched thousands. Ed Stevens, with his book What Happened In 70 A.D., likewise has influenced thousands. Today there are many involved in this exciting movement. Virgil Vaduva is reaching thousands with the Planet Preterist ministry and web site. John Anderson is touching many lives with his daily nationwide radio broadcast (see www.lighthouseproductionsllc.com)

A handful of years ago, we began the Miami Valley Church with 7 people. We met in a basement, then a warehouse. We now have about 100 folks. Our fellowship is based on faith, hope, love, grace, and the realization of God’s restored presence. We surely need much more growth and development. But this congregation has been busy accomplishing things for the kingdom. We’ve taught over 1600 home bible studies, brought 75 souls to Christ, and given over $27,000 worth of food and aid to needy folks. We now operate a free clothing center for the needy. In the last six months of operation, we have served over 600 adults and children with 3-5 full outfits of clothing (underwear, outerwear, shoes, coats, etc.) We receive donations from the community and distribute these to the needy at no cost to them whatsoever. Miami Valley Church was the launching point for Virgil Vaduva’s PlanetPreterist.com . This website now gets between 1 million to 2 million hits per month. This past summer was the first annual fulfilled prophecy conference TRUTHVOICE 2003, attended by 106 people from twenty-some states. After wandering from place to place (like the Israelites in the wilderness), three years ago God brought the Miami Valley Church an astonishing gift. We were contacted and offered and existing 12,000 square foot building on five acres of land. The asking price was $600,000 with a $100,000 down payment structured as a land contract. And in His generosity God offered something else. We were too small to pay that kind of payment. But along with the facility came a full service daycare. We believed we could serve the community and in doing so pay the payments. With God’s help we raised the $100,000 down payment. For three years we’ve made every payment on time. The sellers now are pressing us to refinance the land contract or they would attempt to break the agreement. We are required by the land contract to seek refinancing. Our lending institution has given us a letter indicating a willingness to lend all but $50,000-$60,000 dollars to refinance the land contract. They suggested we seek to raise that amount to qualify for their loan. We’ve set about doing so, and in our small congregation we’ve raised about $32,000. We don’t want to lose the blessing of this facility as a center of work and progress for the kingdom, but the need is beyond our ability. We’ve stretched and sacrificed, yet find ourselves about $18,000-$30,000 short. But we know the presence of God is powerful. After all, Jesus took the limited resources of the disciples (five loaves and two fish) and multiplied them to meet the great need of feeding several thousands. If you are one who is blessed by the understanding of God’s fulfilled promises, it may be that God would touch your heart to help us. We have a very narrow window of time to get back with our bank. The need is urgent. For the most part, God has helped us take care of our needs over the years. We have had some help from our friends. And we sure could use some help now. We don’t want to lose this facility as a workplace for the kingdom. My hope is that God would guide this message to hearts that would be touched and wish to help. If a heart able to give a few thousand dollars were touched, we believe it would be an investment in the kingdom and in advancing the understanding of fulfilled prophecy. If a heart able to give a hundred dollars were moved…if a heart able to give anything were moved, we would be grateful in the Lord. If yours is such a heart, you may send your help to this address:

THE MIAMI VALLEY CHURCH

C/O JOHN BOWEN, TREASURER

561 LESLIE DRIVE

XENIA, OHIO 45385


To many, it is irrelevant whether contributions are tax deductible or not. But for those who wish to know, The Miami Valley Church is a non-profit corporation in the state of Ohio with a federal I.D. number. If you have questions, you may e-mail me at terry@newave.net or call the church office at 1-937-372-6801 weekday mornings. Afternoon and evenings you may call 1-937-427-2557. You may also contact Virgil Vaduva by clicking on the Feedback link located on the left here on PlanetPreterist.com.

It has been a long journey…and I wouldn’t trade it for all the world. I count the realization of God’s presence the greatest of treasures. It’s what Jesus died to bring about. And he has not failed. May God bless you beyond your dreams.

Terry Hall

Dayton, Ohio- October 10, 2003

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Well, Terry, I've been carefully, prayerfully considering whether I should respond to this article at all or not, because I've been deeply concerned about giving offense in any way. That is most definitely not my intention in this comment.

If you will read my most recent article (and Roderick's) you will discover that we believe remaining consistent with the Full Preterist paradigm means rejection of all formally structured "worship and ministry" environments and organizations. I, for one, firmly believe that the thousands and thousands - even millions of dollars being poured into "church" building budgets and programming every year in North America alone would be put to much more God-glorifying use if the New Covenant saints of God alive today would invest that money wisely and prepare for their own futures better, financially, as well as those of their children. Truly wise investment would also enable God's People to intelligently contribute to pockets of real, severe need around the globe, in an informed and intelligent way. This can be done on an individual basis. "Churches" are not needed as facilitators of "ministry", "worship" or "learning/growth/spiritual development" today. The validity of the Church (the one, true NT Church) was exclusive to the pre-AD 70 period of redemptive history.

We NOW live in the "church-less" Kingdom, in THIS realm. We have no need of teachers/preachers/facilitators. We interact directly, spiritually, with our Saviour.

I realize this cuts at the heart of the cause you are pouring your life and efforts into, and that is why I have tried to exercise caution and grace in drawing these things to your attention. Involvement in a formally organized "church" of any kind is counter-productive, spiritually (ultimately) and is inconsistent with the Full Preterist paradigm, as revealed in the Word of God.

Serving the Truth,

JM

Virgil's picture

"I, for one, firmly believe that the thousands and thousands - even millions of dollars being poured into "church" building budgets and programming every year in North America alone would be put to much more God-glorifying use if the New Covenant saints of God alive today would invest that money wisely and prepare for their own futures better, financially, as well as those of their children."

Our church feeds and clothes hundreds of people every year - I am trying to stretch my thinking here and I can't see a better way to use resources than this. When facilities are maxed out, you need to build in order to help more people. You are making it a lot more complicated than it really is...

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Virgil, I have the deepest respect for the type of relief work you are discussing here. I realize, also, that this website is in some way connected with Miami Valley Church, and so the comments I have made, above, are only made in the sincerest respect.

What you are descibing is one of the ways I suggested might be the wisest investment of the beleiver's money - in the lives of the most needy. We could really get into the financial aspect of all of this at a much deeper level, and I guess my primary concern in all of this is: "Do we need a "church hierarchy" and fully-supported staff to accomplish these objectives?" and "Do we need to attach corporate, religious, spiritual significance to a relief organization?" As you know, there are many secular relief organizations feeding and clothing people around the world today. Must we appropriate a New Testament "church model" as a prototype for our involvement with the needy world around us? How about just reaching out to our neighbors and acquaintances? If each person reached out to someone in need within the circle of their immediate influence and everyday life - wouldn't the needs of the world be met just as quickly? There is an exponential aspect to the "pass it on" approach to interpersonal service.

Well...I won't belabor my points and alienate my fellow Full Preterists on this issue if I can help it. But this whole subject and issue DOES concern me considerably (as, of course, it should).

May our Saviour guide us in His wisdom and Truth in these days!

JM

Virgil's picture

"As you know, there are many secular relief organizations feeding and clothing people around the world today"

Yes, and they are all teaching people how to safely have sex using condoms, they are teaching them that God doesn't exist, and that the U.S. is the great satan.

I think you guys completely lost it...I am sorry. You are way out in the woods with this one; like Sam asked, you need to base this argument on scripture, and I don't see any scripture from either you or Roderick to support your position.

I don't want the comments on Terry's article to escalate into an argument completely unrelated to his post, so I suggest that a discussion thread be opened in the Forum to discuss this topic further.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I used Scripture clearly supporting my article, Virgil. No-one responded to it because it WAS abundantly plain that it substantiated my position rather well.

But I'll move this to the Forum as requested.

BibleStudentActivist's picture

I'm resisting making any substantial comment on this whole situation–the teaching coming out about no society for us as Christians, as well as the contradictory request that we help with a structured set up. And yes, I am angry and disappointed. I'm not in any shape to go on about it right now. Maybe later.

~Mark

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