The previous post concerning N. T. Wright’s article got me to thinking about things. For the past five years or so I have really been trying to come to grips with what the Bible teaches in regards to Eschatology. What is eschatology? Well, it is the branch of Christian theology that deals with the afterlife, the future, the Second Coming of Christ, and what exactly the Bible says about it. I’ll have to confess that I am still trying to decide for the most part. I was raised a Dipensational Premillenialist, but in recent years I have had some misgivings concerning this particular brand of eschatology.
So here’s a painfully simplified rundown of what the big words mean that you will see in our poll when you click the link in the sidebar (or link here):
- Dispensational Premillenialism teaches (among other things) that Christ will someday ‘rapture’ all belivers to Heaven while those left behind endure a 7 year period known as the ‘Gread Tribulation”. After this, Christ will come to the earth to establish a literal, one-thousand year kingdom. After which he will make a final judgment of all humanity. Dispensationalists really emphasize a difference between the church and and the nation of Israel and how God will deal with each.
- Classical Premillenialism teaches that Christ will come to establish a literal, one-thousand year kingdom. After this he will finally judge all of humanity. Classical Premillenialists don’t generally hold to the idea of a pre-tribulational rapture, and many of them don’t hold to an actual seven year tribulation in the future. Classical Premills also don’t really make a great distinction between the Church and Israel (although there are a few exceptions).
- Postmillenialism teaches that the ‘millenium’ referred to in the book of Revelation is symbolic for a golden age that will be ushered in by the Church’s faithful ministry and preaching of the Gospel. After this, Christ will come and judge the world.
- Amillenialism teaches that the ‘millenium’ spoken of in Revelation symbolic for the church age in which Christ rules with the saints in Heaven. The kingdom of God is present in the church and Christ will come at the end of the church age to judge the world. (i.e. there is no literal Millenial Kingdom)
- The Left Behind Novels…well, I won’t even go there.
- None of the above: Hmmm. It would be interesting to see what could actually fit in this category.
- If you don’t know what this stuff means then talk to your local pastor or local theology professor. Then do some research for yourself, there’s plenty of info on the web and tons of literature on the subject.
I’m really interested in what you guys think, sooooooooo…if you’ll just take a look at our poll…
p.s. Due to the fact that WordPress will not allow any really cool java polls in the sidebar, you will have to click on the link to the right under ‘Eschatology Poll’. This will take you to a really nifty poll where you can vote.
p.p.s. Feel free to comment on your vote and let me know what particular subset of eschatology you adhere to and why
p.p.p.s. I consider a person’s eschatology to be a non-essential in comparison to other teachings of orthodox Christianity. This does not mean that I don’t believe that it is important, just that I don’t want people slinging terms like ‘heretic’ around just because someone holds a different view than you. As far as I’m concerned, the only essential tenet of eschatology is that Christ will indeed return someday as he promised. The details about how that will happen exactly are open for discussion. Remember the wise words of Augustine (who happened to be Amill):
In essentials unity, in doubtful things liberty, but in all things charity.