Roger Skepple – The Church of Laodicea

At last week’s Embracing the Truth Conference, I shared the lecturing duties with my friend, Roger Skepple.  Elder Skepple is the pastor of Berean Bible Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA.  He is also one of my favorite exegetes and Bible teachers.  For that reason, I thought I’d post his lectures here on my blog so you could hear them while the rest of the messages are being posted on the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference website.

His assigned topic was: The Church of Laodicea.  It’s well worth the time to listen.

Roger Skepple – The Church of Laodicea – Part 1

Roger Skepple – The Church of Laodicea – Part 2

Roger Skepple – The Church of Laodicea – Part 3


Jesus as Judge – audio, video, and notes

Here are the audio files and notes from this year’s Embracing the Truth Conference lecture series on the topic: Jesus as Judge.

Just a note about the audio: We were using a wireless microphone, which is normally not a problem.  But this year, for some reason, we got intermittent RF interference that made its way into the recordings.  I can sometimes remove unwanted noise from digital recordings, but this RF noise was in the same frequency spectrum as my voice, so removing it rather severely altered the voice quality.  So, I tried to bring it down a bit, but you’ll definitely hear it when it pops up. The noise comes and goes but I don’t think it hampers the audibility too terribly.

Jesus as Judge Part 1
Jesus as Judge Part 2
Jesus as Judge Part 3

Jesus as Judge – notes

All of the messages from this year’s conference are available on the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference Website.


Embracing the Truth Conference 2016

Conference season is starting early this year.  In fact, the first Sovereign Grace Bible Conference of 2016 is convening next week.  If you’re in the area, make sure and stop in!  You’ll be blessed by the fellowship, preaching, teaching, and food.  Did I mention the food?

Thanks to Elders Kennedy and Pickett from New Christian Life Church in Lebanon, TN. and Elder Spickard and his team at Hamilton Chapel Church in Gladeville for their faithfulness and leadership in this annual event.

Here is a pdf of the poster announcing the conference: ETT Conference

And here is the schedule: ETT Schedule



A quick apology

Hi there.

The last few months my “blog maintenance” has been a tad sketchy — owing to my frequent trips to Tuscaloosa to care for my mom, which often left me scrambling to keep up with my other duties when I was home.  Along the way, several folk have written comments to various articles and posts.  I really enjoy the feedback!  But, I have to actively “approve” comments in order for them to show up on the blog.  And they stacked up, unapproved, until today.

I usually get an email when a new comment arrives.  Since updating the blog to the latest version of WordPress software, those emails haven’t shown up.  I’m going to try and fix that.

But, just know that I appreciate the comments and feedback.  It’s very encouraging and always good to know that people are reading and taking advantage of the notes and downloads available here.

So, keep those comments coming … and please accept my apology for letting some of them languish.


How Many Second Comings Are There?

Between the recent article concerning the pre-wrath rapture and the recent availability of the “History of the Future” book on Amazon, I’ve been spending a good deal of time dealing with eschatological matters.  In the process, I’ve bumped into an argument that is shared by advocates of pretty much every other position than premil/pretrib.  It goes like this —

The pretribulational position asserts that Jesus will return for His church before the seven year tribulation and then return years later to accomplish His wrath and establish His kingdom.  So, just how many "second comings" are there???

The assumption behind the argument is that Christ can and will only return to Earth once and do whatever needs doing at that time.  Otherwise, there’s more than one “second coming.”  There’s a “third coming,” or maybe even a fourth. Hence, no pretrib rapture.

I’d like to respond.

The phrase “second coming” isn’t in the Bible.  The closest we get to that phrase in Hebrews 9:28, which reads —

“So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

We think in terms of the first and second comings of Christ in order to differentiate His incarnation and ministry (including His death, burial,  resurrection, and ascension) from His promised return.

Now, in order to think biblically about Christ’s “second time” appearance, let’s consider what happened the first time around.  And let’s ask the question: How many “appearances” make up His “first coming”?

Let’s count the period from Christ’s birth to His resurrection as one comprehensive whole — His life, so to speak. Immediately after His resurrection, He would not let Mary touch Him, stating, “I have not yet ascended to the Father.”  (John 20:17)  But soon after, in a matter of days, when He appeared in the midst of His disciples, Jesus invited Thomas to touch Him (John 20:27).  We can safely assume that He had been to His Father.  He left the planet and returned.  

So, is that a “second coming” or is it part of the first? We all count it as part of His first coming. Christ’s “first coming” has multiple appearances. Like His later appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:31-35) And later, He stood in their midst as they recounted the story (Luke 24:36).

He appeared again to Peter and another six apostles by the Sea of Tiberius (John 21:1-14).  Later, after His ascension back to Heaven, Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-8).  In fact, Saul (whose name was changed to Paul) argued that his apostleship was based in the fact that he had actually seen the Lord (1Cor. 9:1) after multiple other appearances —

“… He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1Cor. 15:5-8)

Time passes.  Best history and tradition tell us that Paul died somewhere in the mid-to-late 60’s AD.  His fifth missionary journey ended around 67 AD, after which he was beheaded by Nero.  Meanwhile, the apostle John was banished to the Isle of Patmos under the reign of Domitian, sometime around 90-92 AD.  And who appeared to him?  Jesus again.  Somewhere in the range of sixty years after His ascension, Jesus appeared to John to impart the information we call the book of Revelation.

How many appearances is that now?

Here’s my point — if the “first coming” of Christ included multiple appearances to different people, in different situations, for different reasons, including calling John up to Heaven (Rev. 4:1), over a period of time that spanned 60 years, then I don’t see any inconsistency with the idea that Jesus could appear to (and for) His church and later return in judgment.  Both of those events would comfortably fit into what we call the “second coming.”

After all, He did it the first time.