Self-educated author offers insights

Monday, September 27, 2004

Author Ken Uptegrove is somewhat of a paradox ----a fundamentalist, evangelical and pentecostal Southern Baptist. Further, the only schooling in theology that he has is what he has taught himself, being what many would still call a gentleman scholar.

He has educated himself extensively in fields of church history, Bible manuscript history, Bible translations and Holy Land archeology, and is further knowledgeable in fields of philosophy, cosmology, archaeology, astronomy, geophysics, paleontology, anthropology, Egyptology, naturopathy and horticulture.

By in large, Uptegrove seems on target as he discusses what he sees coming for the church ---- think all denominations, not just Baptists ---- and what Christians need to do to help bring about a massive end-of-time harvest which the Bible tells how God will accomplish.

Utilizing an apologetic method, he starts by defining terms, clarifying that when many Christians pray for revival, what they are really asking for is a harvest, but that such a harvest will not come until the church experiences revival. He further states that no revival has taken place without reformation, meaning that those stuck in tradition, close-mindedly believing there is nothing more to learn, will miss out on the harvest.

This book is unusual in its subject matter, explaining much, as well as proposing other insights, which the author allows may need correction but will still provide ample food for thought and study.

His argument against the cessationist view is surprising, considering Uptegrove's membership in a Southern Baptist Convention Church ---- but perhaps his local church has already caught the vision that Uptegrove shares.

Underlying the author's understanding is love, with spiritual gifts of prophecy, unacquired tongues, supernatural knowledge, and others following. These gifts, he believes, are to be operational in the Church today, but with the physical coming of Jesus, they will be outgrown and discarded.

That is a continuationist, or non-cessationist, view.

"Perhaps our faith boils down to the simplest of issues," he writes. "For instance, do you believe the Bible, or do you prefer the traditions of the elders? If God gives you a better understanding of a Scripture, are you free to bring the required change into your life, or are you in bondage?"

He pokes fun at his own denomination, stating "The question should be 'Is it scriptural,' not 'Is it Southern Baptist?'"

Whether Uptegrove is, himself, a prophet is an open question ---- scripture says for prophets to judge the prophets. Certainly, he has a remarkable understanding of Biblical prophecy and how it can be applied to today's world.

No doubt, there are many ---- particularly those who give the book a cursory reading ----who will take exception to Uptegrove's book. He welcomes correction where he may be in error, but cautions that it should be based on scripture, not a harsh, critical bias.

Most preachers would probably say the same thing, though putting that into practice might not be so easy.

Dawning: The Next Great Move of God; by Kenneth E. Uptegrove; paperback; 253 pages with index of names, end notes and bibliography; ArkHaven Publications, Springdale, Ark.

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