I think it is time to give a Truth is The Word report back. My son Lance interviewed me recently for a blog he has started. Here are the main questions and summaries of my responses. They constitute a reasonable idea of the status of the ministry and should prove interesting to anyone who has been supporting the effort to restore the lost focus on the Lord Jesus Christ to the church.
Chris, tell us about Truth is The Word.
TITW is a Jesus-centred repository of resources. At present, it consists only of my life work, but I have plans to include other authors later. It is part of a worldwide mission to restore the centrality of Jesus to the church.
I started it in 2006 (13 years ago) on BlogSpot (now called Blogger) but moved it to its own domain in 2014. In that year, it averaged 20,000 hits per month. By 2018, this had grown to 70,000, and in this year so far it is averaging 120,000 hits per month.
What does the ministry comprise of?
On the site, you can find Blog posts, Podcasts, articles, books, sermons and links to the social media accounts.
How many blogs and podcasts have you produced, and what has been your most popular production?
I post twice a month and produce two podcasts (TruthTalks) per month. So far, there are 560 posts on the site with 780 comments, and the TruthTalks have been listened to by 8600 unique visitors. The most popular post to date is “The worm has been turned” which attracted 250,000 hits in the space of two weeks. ClickHEREif you would like to read this particular article.
There are also 3 major books and 4 Christian QuickReads on the site (Click HERE) as well as over 100 articles, 40 videos (on the linked Youtube channel) and 110 sermon audios and notes.
What is your vision for Truth is The Word and your plans for the future?
I am presently concentrating on Amazon Kindle publishing, and also starting to refocus on church leaders as a primary audience. I will also be broadening the scope of articles to include all of ROADS, which is an acronym for Relationships, Outreach, Anointing, Doctrine, and Structure – Five ingredients of a healthy growing church. All articles will of course have a distinctly Jesus-centred perspective.
My medium term plans are to build the subscriber base and then eventually open the site to other authors, theologians and church leaders as a platform for Christocentric publishing in general.
Do you get enjoyment from it?
Yes, I do. I love preaching and writing and I derive great satisfaction from being part of the mission to restore the centrality of Jesus to the church.
Dr. Christopher Peppler preaches on the topic of Revival. In Part one we look at Isaiah 61 and ask ourselves what revival is, what it isn’t and why we need it. We also look at past revivals in the church and what we should expect when revival comes!
Another year has started! A time of considering and praying about what lies ahead – plans, priorities, budgets. But as Christians we don’t just think and plan, we seek God’s counsel and approval (don’t we)… but how do we expect Him to respond? Psalm 25 gives some importance guidance in ‘hearing God’’. It’s a big subject and I will limit myself to what the first 15 verses of this Psalm teach. Based on Psalm 25:1-15, this sermon by Dr. Christopher Peppler covers how God speaks to us and how we should listen!
Millennium is a word that has caused more confusion than possibly any other word in the Bible, but it isn’t actually in the Bible.
Revelation 20:3 refers to a 1,000-year reign of Christ. The Greek word used for 1,000 is ‘chilia’ but in 405AD Jerome compiled the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible and translated the word as ‘millennium’. So this became one of the several Latin words that have crept into some English translations of the Bible that never were in the earliest Greek manuscripts.
Over the last several hundred years, various scholars have built systems of interpreting biblical prophecy based on the books of Daniel and Revelation along with the meddlesome Millennium. But it’s not really the word itself that is the problem, it’s the insistence by its champions in interpreting Revelation as a literal calendar of events.
The basis of the various Millennium schemes is that Jesus will return physically to Earth to rule ‘with an iron sceptre’ (Revelation 2:27) for 1,000 years.
This idea is developed from just six verses of scripture, Revelation 20:1-6, and the outline of most schemes goes like this:
Jesus will return physically to Earth and set himself up in a rebuilt temple on The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
He will rule like an Old Testament king, re-institute the temple sacrificial system and the Law, and administer justice with iron resolve.
Salvation through Faith alone will no longer apply.
Any contact with God will only be possible through physical exposure to King Jesus.
In some schemes, 144,000 Jews will serve as the immortal soldiers of the King.
Now consider more carefully some of the problems caused by this belief system:
The presence of God would then be limited once again to one place in geography and time. One of the great benefits of the Holy Spirit coming into the world is that any saved person, anywhere and at any time can enter into the presence of Almighty God.
If the Lord returned to take up long-term residence on Earth, then where would he locate? In Jerusalem, of course; and a rebuilt Temple would probably be his headquarters. The problem is that 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 has this to say; “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” So, if the temple is ever to be rebuilt in Jerusalem it will be a sign of the antichrist, not of the return of Jesus.
During the 1 000 years, there would be many millions of people living on Earth. Would they remain alive all that time? Would babies be born? But more importantly, how would they be saved? If Jesus is ruling with a ‘rod of iron’ as the ultimate benign dictator, then what of free will and what of grace? Would salvation again be a matter of works?
There is also a very serious theological problem with the doctrine of the Millennium that imputes the value of the Atonement. Revelation 20:1-3 reads; “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time”. In terms of a literalistic scheme of interpretation, this would mean that Satan is only “‘bound” when Jesus returns at the beginning of the 1,000 year period. So what was the crucifixion all about then? What did Jesus mean when He declared to His disciples two millennia ago that “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18)? And what did Paul mean when he wrote: ‘And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross’’(Colossians 2:15)? Surely any teaching that claims that when Jesus died on the cross He did not decisively deal with Satan is seriously in error and effectively empties the cross of Christ of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17).
What do I believe concerning the 1,000 years referred to in Revelation Chapter 20? Well, I can’t really state it any better than I did in my book Revelation in the Stars, which is available as a free pdf, should you wish to read it, HERE:
I believe that the millennium is a present reality. Christ ushered it in with his first advent, and it will be succeeded by the final state at his second coming. I believe that Almighty God has only one plan of salvation, based on the finished work of Calvary. God saved specific Old Testament saints through their trust in his grace, and all other believers since have been saved by faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that there are just two ages – this present age, and the age to come referred to as the new Heaven and Earth. I believe that at the cross Jesus Christ bound Satan from having authority over humankind, but that he will loose the devil on Earth near the end of time. Actually, I think that Satan will incarnate as the final anti-Christ. I believe that the church lives in a world of tribulation, but that this tribulation will grow progressively worse. At the very end, Jesus will come again, in a single cataclysmic event, to bring history to its close, and to usher in the final state. He will come with those believers who have previously died and have been with him in Heaven. As he comes again to Earth, the believers still on this planet will join him (be raptured) and accompany him to the planet’s surface, where he will judge all mankind. God will resurrect all humanity with immortal material bodies, both the saved and unsaved, and all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. He will banish forever from his presence those whom he does not know, the unsaved. Those who are his disciples will receive rewards in accordance with what they have done during their earthly lives. Then this present world will be purified by fire, destroyed, and remade without the limitations of space and time as we know them. Heaven and Earth will be one, and God will at last dwell within his creation with his beloved children.
Matthew 3:1-2 reads, ‘In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Repent means many things, but the essence of the word is ‘to think differently’. We need to think differently. We need to think differently about the nature of progress, knowledge, and truth. We so easily buy into the humanistic concepts of our age. We tend to accept unthinkingly that scientific advancement is both good and inevitable and that competitive individualism is a virtue. We need to learn to think critically.
Several years ago, I supervised my first Masters candidate. He had completed a four-year degree programme at an accredited institution and had been in the pastoral ministry for more than a decade. The first chapter of his thesis arrived and I was distressed to find that it was little more than a bunch of quotes strung together. I sent his work back with explanations of how the thesis needed to reflect his own thinking. His second attempt was little better, so this time I sent him my own rework of a part of his chapter as an example of how he should develop his thesis. I was dumbfounded when I read his third submission; he had cut and pasted my work! I sought help from my friend and colleague, the late Dr Rex Mathie, and he explained two things to me. Firstly, in my student’s culture there was no higher honour he could give his professor than to quote from his teacher’s work. Secondly, nobody had taught him to think. Despite four years of full time higher education, this man did not know how to think critically.
The rate of change that is upon the world is bewilderingly fast. The foundations of society are shifting more quickly than the polar ice cap is melting. Technology is shaping a world we will hardly recognise in ten years time. If we are to survive, we need to learn to think creatively. However, God expects more than survival from us; he wants us to thrive. To thrive, we need to learn to think critically. This applies to all people but it is especially applicable to Christians. We are the ones who should be forming world opinion. We are the ones who should be leading a confused generation back to truth and godliness. We should be the inspired thinkers of our time.
One of the effects of the blizzard of change we are currently experiencing is the cloud of deception it generates. James wrote to the church of his day, ‘Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers’. (James 1:16) That warning was important then and it is even more important now.
To avoid deception we need grace, wisdom, and critical thinking skills. We need to learn to evaluate, test, analyse, and judge.
Satan usually appears as an angel of light, and deception most often presents itself clothed in fine sounding words and enticing proposals. We will be in grave danger if we do not learn to think critically. Remember, Jesus said that ‘false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones’. (Mark 13:22-23 NLT) We have the Bible, and we have access to the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Yet what many of us appear to lack, are critical thinking skills.
I recently completed a revised edition of the book: Truth is the Word – restoring a lost focus. Its second chapter is all about how we acquire knowledge. I have also designed the entire book in a way that stimulates thought and improves thinking skills. You can find out more about it at www.truthistheword.com
My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.
Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.
I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus
I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar. I have started a site called Classical Guitar SA to serve classical guitar enthusiasts in South Africa.