Paul VanderKlay was asked to give some further detail on his comment: when you try to bring heaven down to earth, you bring hell up with it. The discussion begins here, in this video.
Summarizing his comments: In the utopia we want to create, there will be no mosquitos (why did he have to use this as an example?), so we will eradicate these. We come to find this also has the effect of eradicating bees. Well, no problem, they sting. But then what? No pollination, no plants, flowers, fruit, etc. You get the idea. Introducing Jonathan Pageau into his reply: we need to leave room on the margins for things that we don’t like – like mosquitos.
These comments from PVK got me to think further into the matter, going further into some of Pageau’s thoughts. My quick reaction, via a reply at PVK’s channel:
Regarding PVK’s statement: “when you try to bring heaven down to earth, you bring hell up with it.” I understand this in the context of the various utopias we have been peddled, each leading to the death and destruction of millions. But, to dive under this surface, I am going to stumble through this, but perhaps this helps…. Merging a bit of Pageau to get at this
Heaven is, it seems to me, a totalizing system, all inclusive, nothing at the fringe or margin. Only God can know what is good and what is evil, and it is the good that is in heaven and that is heaven. In every meaningful way, all who are in heaven (however one understands this to mean) are included fully. Not to say all are carbon copies of each other; just to say that in all meaningful ways all are fully included.
Bringing such a totalizing system down to earth is not possible because earth is fallen. Inherently, there are fringes with fallen creatures. We do not understand all about all when it comes to good and evil. To eliminate these fringes (as in heaven) requires bringing up hell on those at the fringe. The totalizing system of heaven, brought to earth, is hell for those at the fringes.
Again, sorry for the rambling. Maybe this helps.
I would like to work through this some more. Now, this will require a bit of background for those not following this conversation.
First, we can understand the point of what happens when man attempts to bring heaven down to earth and the resultant hell that is unleashed. Take any “ism” of the last few hundred years, all promising some utopia or another. Each one came to tears, to death, to starvation, to guillotines, to gulags, to death camps, etc.
Communism, socialism, fascism, modern liberalism (growing from the strain of classical liberalism that removed God from view). Each of these “isms,” promised heaven on earth, but instead delivered hell; and, not coincidentally, each in varying degrees excluded Christianity and God. Each of these “isms” also excluded natural law.
Returning now to Pageau: he has described the social system into which the West is moving as one of total inclusivity. For example, he does so here in this video examining a speech given to the ADL by Tim Cook of Apple. Pageau’s video is only about twenty minutes long, and you will listen to it more than once if you listen at all.
Pageau summarizes Cook. There are only two things that matter in this new social system: total inclusivity, and don’t oppose the system. In other words, everything is to be included except those who don’t agree to include everything – these people will be excluded. (As an important aside, while finding room to mention Judaism and Islam, Cook utters not a peep about Christianity in this speech.)
Pageau offers (I don’t recall if it is in the above-mentioned video or in others; he has discussed this many times) that Christianity always leaves room at the margins. One can think of it in terms of leaving grain on the edges of the field for the poor. Another example is how God was angry that David took the census – an act where everyone had to be counted, with none left out.
We can consider today: while not perfectly, Christianity has left room at the margins – those on the periphery of society. One can summarize: we are to love our enemies, care for the poor and sick, defend the weak.
When it comes to humans, imperfect and fallen as we are, there will always be those at the margin. Christianity teaches love toward those at the margin. Man cannot be purified by man; this, then, is respected by Christian teaching.
So now I come to heaven…and hell. Whatever one believes about these terms, I think I can safely say (at least for those who believe something of these terms): in Heaven, it is all good; in hell, it is all evil. Each “system” is a totalizing system, total inclusivity – a utopia, if you will. There is no evil at the margins in heaven, just as there is no good at the margins in hell. There is no margin in either place.
So, why does a totally inclusive system work in heaven (and hell), but not on earth? It works because, unlike man, God truly knows “good” and “evil.” Man does not know perfectly the good nor perfectly the evil. Any attempt to place firm boundaries around what man believes he knows of these can only result in faulty lines – because man is imperfect. Besides, the line between good and evil runs through each one of us – there can be no utopia of good or evil with creatures such as these.
Unlike those who would eradicate mosquitos (or racism, or sexism, or transphobia, or alcoholism, or poverty, or homelessness, etc.), God understands the ramifications of changing one thing, of changing man’s nature. Only God can perfect man. Every being in heaven is complete, fully conforming to the totality of perfection toward the good, just as every being in hell conforms fully to the totality of perfection in evil. This is not to suggest all are equal (one of the follies of utopian earthly “isms”).
So, what happens when man attempts to bring this utopia of heaven down to earth? He brings up hell with it. He cannot change man’s nature – this composite of good and evil; only God can do this. For man, force must be employed, but will only succeed in changing behavior, not nature. Therefore, it takes the most evil among us, those gladly willing to employ force, to bring such change to fruition. Those who are most evil are very good at one thing only: bringing hell on earth.
In every case over the last centuries, when man has attempted to bring about this utopia, hell has followed. We see glimpses of it again in the West in the name of stamping out racism (a term that must be left undefined in order to remain a perpetual weapon): stores are looted, diners can’t eat, individuals are pummeled, comments are censored, people are cancelled – both virtually and in real life.
Fr. Stephen Freeman expands on this point of utopia, speaking of modernity and beginning here. A few snippets (not direct quotes):
People talk about wanting to make the world a better place. You’re not going to make the world a better place; Chesterton said this well before I did. We think this will come through politics. It doesn’t happen – it never has and it never will.
We see the improvements in technology and goods that have come via modernity, and believe ourselves to be able to achieve similar results toward the improvement of man. We cannot bring the Kingdom of God on earth. It is from God, and will come without your help – you can’t bring it on, nor can you stop it from coming.
Man’s attempts will just bring up hell.
More from Fr. Freeman
Those who think the church can be used in the political world have been co-opted. If this is how you think the Church should influence the world, you need to be something other than Orthodox!
I would broaden that to all Christians of all stripes. However, his point is one of size, whereas mine is one of scope.
If you want to use your church to influence politics, go to the Baptists or maybe the Catholics. They might be large enough to influence things in politics – they are much bigger.
“We can’t even get them to spank the Turks.”
Sounds like something an Orthodox Christian would say…and with good reason!
"when you try to bring heaven down to earth..."ReplyDelete
"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries."
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning (from ‘Aurora Leigh’)
"Those who think the church can be used in the political world have been co-opted."ReplyDelete
Co-opted? By whom? Satan? I don't think so. The 'Benedict Option' is appropriate and perhaps vital to the survival of Christian civilization, but not for all Christians. If all Christians retreated into the monastery in today's world, they'd be overrun and slaughtered by the new barbarians.
"Those who have their finger on the pulse of contemporary civilization have probably noted that there are two contradictory charges against religions today. The first is that religion is not political enough; the other is that religion is too political. On the one hand, the Church is blamed for being too divine, and on the other, for not being divine enough. It is hated because it is too heavenly and hated because it is too earthly.
And so throughout history, these two contradictory charges have been leveled against the Person of Christ in His Body the Church. His Church was accused of not being political enough when it condemned Nazism and Fascism; it is accused of being too political when it condemns Communism. It is the second charge that needs specific consideration, namely, that the Church is interfering in politics. Is this true? It all depends upon what you mean by politics. If by interference in politics is meant using influence to favor a particular regime, party, or system that respects the basic God-given rights and freedom of persons, the answer is emphatically No! The Church does not interfere in politics. If by interference in politics is meant judging or condemning a philosophy of life that makes the party or state, or the class, or the race, the source of all rights, and that usurps the soul and enthrones party over conscience and denies those basic rights for which the war was fought, the answer is emphatically Yes!
The Church does judge such a philosophy. But when it does this, it is not interfering with politics, for such politics is no longer politics but theology. When a state sets itself up as absolute as God, when it claims sovereignty over the soul, when it destroys freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, then the state has ceased to be political and has begun to be a counter-Church.
But whatever be the reason for these trying days, of this we may be certain: The Christ Who suffered under Pontius Pilate signed Pilate’s death warrant; it was not Pilate who signed Christ’s. Christ’s Church will be attacked, scorned, and ridiculed, but it will never be destroyed…. The bold fact the enemies of God must face is that modern civilization has conquered the world, but in doing so has lost its soul. And in losing its soul it will lose the very world it gained. Even our own so-called liberal culture in the United States, which has tried to avoid complete secularization by leaving little zones of individual freedom, is in danger of forgetting that these zones were preserved only because religion was in their soul. And as religion fades so will freedom, for only where the spirit of God is, is there liberty.” - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
I tend to agree with you. Where would we be if Christians were NOT involved in the political sphere? However, just because they are does not mean that they have to be compromised or corrupted. There can (should) be Christians in civil leadership roles who know absolutely what they believe and hold firmly to it.
There is no reason why this cannot (does not) happen except that the system has rewarded bad behavior for so long that Christians have, by and large, removed themselves from the responsibility. Christians have, for the most part, built themselves a theology of "pie in the sky by and by", but refuse to be the salt and light this world needs.
If the struggle between good and evil can be compared to a war, then most Christians are AWOL.
"refuse to be the salt and light this world needs."Delete
Utopian movements in the West come out of Post-Millenialism. For some reason it was a widely held view within some groups of the Reformation.ReplyDelete
Once the idea was secularized in the Enlightenment, it lead to all this hell. The idea that humans can perfect themselves and the world is pure hubris.
The key to me is that God has to make pure everyone who will enter into Paradise. It is a supernatural act.
I can't understand how Post-Millenialism ever had adherents. It is very difficult to build a case for it Biblically. But even if the Bible was clearly pro, it isn't practical, due to the supernatural nature of perfecting man.
I will not enter into this debate, but you should know that I hold to the post-millennial view and have for more than 40 years. I was raised Baptist, pre-millennial, pre-tribulation, so I know what I have left behind. I will never look back.
If you wish to debate this on your own blog, write an article, send me a link (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will mix it up with you. I will not do that on this blog.
You may be completely correct in your assertion that utopian movements come out of post-millennialism, but that does not mean that the concept itself is wrong.
I will send you an email. Not to debate. But would like to get your biblical case for post-mil.Delete
No, that is not satisfactory. You are the one who brought up the subject, in a very public way. I will answer you, also in public where anyone can see the arguments for and against, but I will not argue this in a discussion which is private. If you don't want to defend your beliefs in the open, then I am not interested. I do not have the time nor the inclination to argue this issue via e-mail.
There is a lot of available information which defends the post-millennial viewpoint. If you are not convinced by any of that, then you will not listen to me.
Put up or shut up. This is my last word on it.
Easy, please. You are both valued participants here.Delete
Yes sir! I will say no more.Delete
Pre-milenium: does not matter what choices we make and the suffering it causes, we are going to be raptured. Cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs. That is OK, it is other eggs.Delete
Post-milenium: No suffering, no gain. Cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs. That is Ok, it is other eggs.
Me: there is no human solution to the human condition (mimicking queen Sheila Jackson lee).
I got plenty popcorn. May have to get some more.
Sorry Roger. Didn't mean to be offensive. I personally don't want to argue about it. I am not trying to be dismissive. I just don't have the bandwidth forit right now. Peace.Delete
Peace to you as well, RMB. Neither did I mean to offend anyone. Bionic, my apologies. No excuses.Delete
Roger / RMB, thanks to you both.Delete
I have been thinking about this topic. Like many topics of disagreement regarding Scriptural interpretation...
Neither of you is unique in holding to your particular viewpoint. There are many people of good faith on either side of this discussion (and a few "a-mil" also). I suspect it is easy to find the arguments made on both sides, if one chooses to do so.
In other words, I can't imagine either of you would have an argument that hasn't been made before, or use verses in Scripture that haven't been used before, etc.
So far, I hope nothing controversial on my part. Maybe in error, but not controversial.
But I will ask - and I mean this sincerely, not for the purposes for either of you to attempt me to move me to one view or the other, but out of a desire to understand something else: in your day-to-day life, the actions you take, your interactions with your family and fellow man, and - most especially - your Christian walk...what difference does it make? How would you or do you live and act differently because of your belief on this point as opposed to if you had the other belief?
I mean this sincerely, not to be snarky. I hope it is received this way.
I have never had a conversation with someone about Post-Millennialism. I am curious.Delete
I haven't lived in every kind of circumstance so far in life, so I don't know how learning more about this topic will affect my behavior. But I do know that as I pursue God through His word, I will be closer to Him and hopefully that much more likely to act appropriately when the time comes.
Thanks, RMB. As mentioned, there are many resources online if you are interested in getting an understanding of it. Probably even some places that offer various forms of communication, if you want.Delete
Thank you, Bionic. Your willingness to engage in conversation about difficult subjects is one of the primary reasons I keep returning to this site.Delete
I will take up your question and it is my fervent hope that no one will consider anything I say as less than sincere. This will have to be an extended discussion on my part because there is too much to simply answer in one short comment.
I am open to criticism and correction. As moderator of this blog, I expect that you will call me to account for anything I might say which is not proper nor professional, in like manner as you did above when you said, "Easy, now." I expect that you will do this to anyone else who needs admonishment. Because of this, I expect that our conversation will be "seasoned with salt" and in the spirit of love and good will.
You asked how my beliefs have changed my life and how I might have lived differently if I believed the opposing viewpoint. I can and will answer that from personal experience because, as mentioned above, I grew up in a pre-millennial, rapturist environment, but left it for a post-millennial viewpoint when I became old enough to think for myself. The switch from one doctrine to the other has profoundly affected the way I live and my insight into the future of mankind and the world. I would not be the man I am today if I had never changed my course.
From my perspective, this will be anecdotal. I will not attempt to argue my case from scripture.
If I may, RMB, you say that you have never had a conversation with anyone about post-millennialism, yet you also say that you don't understand why anyone would believe it because the doctrine is not scriptural. It is my hope that you will be able to come to a greater understanding of my position and weigh that against your own, enabling you to make a better decision for yourself. I am honored that you have asked for my input and will do everything I can to assist you in your search for the truth.
More to come. Be blessed, everyone.
Thank you, Roger. I hope we keep the conversation on such a level; the discussion will be valuable, at least to me.Delete
These differences between Christians...some might have something to do with our salvation, others, I suspect do not - but instead alter how we might view the world or act in the world (and I know the distinction is not as clear as might be implied by my statement).
In both possibilities, there is value in understanding - one, certainly, more important than the other. So as you walk through your thoughts (and if what I ask here makes any sense to you), I would be curious to understand in which way you find the importance of your view on this topic.
If what I am asking doesn't make any sense to you, I am still interested in your thoughts.
In order to understand why I believe what I do, who I am, why I became what I am, and how that happened, I need to give you some history. Please be patient.Delete
I was born in 1958 into a family which had deep Baptist roots and was thoroughly taught the doctrine of that branch, which I might easily boil down to three or four main points. Some will disagree.
1. Don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't chew. Don't go out with girls that do. (One of my cousins was forced, along with her boyfriend, to publicly apologize and ask forgiveness from a local church because she became pregnant before they were married.)
2. Support political conservatism. Vote Republican straight ticket. The Communists are coming! The Communists are coming!
3. You're going to Hell unless you repent of your sins. (Another of my cousins spent an inordinate amount of time pushing this onto other people, figuratively getting them in a headlock and shoving it down their throats.)
4. The Rapture of Christians from the world is imminent. Jesus is coming back soon, real soon. Always and consistently, soon, real soon. The Tribulation is right around the corner. The Anti-Christ is going to be revealed soon, real soon. The Mark of the Beast will be forced on you, unless you have confessed your sins and are caught up in the Rapture, which is going to happen soon, real soon. (Sorry about the hyperbole, but the emphasis which is laid on this belief was, and still is, very pronounced.)
I have read pre-millennial authors who attempted to predict the course of the future, almost all of whom have been proven wrong. At one point, in my early teens, I believed that Richard Nixon was the Anti-Christ, until Watergate took him down. I have been to church services and tent meetings in which the momentary spirit, the emotional appeal, and the guilt manipulation were so thick you could almost cut them with a knife. Where the spirit came from and who it represented I will not presume to answer. I speak from experience.
In all of this, there was no consistent teaching about loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Never a word about abortion on demand. Nothing said about the killing and destruction caused by starting and fighting in foreign wars against small, weak “enemies” to defend our way of life. Very little said about working to effect social change. Virtually nothing, just the message that the world was getting worse by the day and this would not change until Jesus came back, sat on a throne in Jerusalem, and forced everyone to accept His rule, backed up with the threat of a “rod of iron”, run by a totalitarian, dictatorial bureaucracy. Of course, that is not what was said, but it is what such an administration would require.
Socially and spiritually bankrupt, in other words, and I rebelled against it as did so many others of my generation. Adamant, rock-hard refusal to participate in the “system”. I was probably fifteen years old when I raised such a ruckus about going to church that my father said I wouldn’t have to go anymore. For years, I went my own way and did whatever I wanted, no matter the cost to myself or anyone else. For years, I had nothing to do with “church” and would not even discuss Christianity with anyone, regardless of who they were or what they had to say. I became harder, more arrogant, more condescending toward others, more callous, more hateful, more lonely, more angry. Always the loneliness and the anger.
Until the day that God, Who works in mysterious ways, intervened and changed my life forever.
In 1980, I learned of the Libertarian Party through the presidential campaign of Ed Clark and instantly transitioned into that mode of thinking. Nothing more needs to be said about that. Shortly afterward, I started receiving promotional literature from Gary North, which interested me, at least from the financial/social/political perspective. In time, I became aware of “dominion theology” as taught by North, David Chilton, Ray Sutton, Greg Bahnsen, John Rousas Rushdoony, and associated others. I went from a nibble to a hard bite and, from then on, I was hooked. I changed my religious worldview immediately, without a backward glance. Pre-millennialism to post-millennialism in one gigantic leap.
Ironically, the very first book I read on the subject was Unconditional Surrender by North, which claims that Jesus Christ demands total, 100% submission to His Lordship in everything that we say and do, in every single part of our lives. This was a really odd way to start a new education, but God does indeed work in mysterious ways. Unconditional surrender to the rule of Jesus was necessary for me and has been (still is, at times) a monumental struggle.
For years, I spent a huge amount of my time reading and absorbing the material available*. At one point I owned almost the entire collection of North’s Economic Commentary on the Bible, and literally went from one book to the next, one chapter, one section, one paragraph read and reread, not always understanding, but compelled to continue. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
I do not agree with nor endorse everything these authors teach, but the learning experience has been instrumental in shaping my life. I have no idea what I might have become or even if I would still be alive, if I had not gone through it. For all I know, depression might have driven me to suicide. There have been times when, but for the grace of God…and I can look back and see, in vivid detail, all the times when my life could have been disastrously wrecked (but somehow wasn’t) and believe that God had a purpose for my life which He would not allow to be derailed.
His love endures forever!
*For those who might be interested, you can download a huge amount of this literature free of charge. Go to http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/sidefrm2.htm and follow the instructions.
Warning: this is not simple, easy reading of the sort most Christians are accustomed to. If you’re not seriously dedicated, you probably shouldn’t bother. If you are serious, you can learn a lot.
It has been a long, hard road, but today I believe without question that Jesus Christ is the King and that I must submit to His rule unconditionally. The fact that I argue with this from time to time simply means that my life is not over yet and there are changes yet to be made. Today, I believe that His rule extends throughout the entire world and is being gradually brought about through the work of His Spirit in time and history, even though we may not see it. I believe that the Spirit is capable of implementing this rule in the lives of men and women personally and individually. I believe that men and women are being changed continually by that Spirit to conform to the image of Christ. I believe that these men and women are capable of and do, in fact, change the world around them, inevitably bringing more and more into subjection to said rule. I believe that, over time and in history, the vast majority of men and women will come to this understanding, transforming their world personally and also the world generally—before Jesus comes back in the flesh. I believe that there is no need for a physical manifestation of Jesus on a physical throne because His Spirit, Who is God, is present with us forever and ever.
I am a son of God. I am a joint heir with Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I rule my own life, not for myself, but for His glory. I am victorious. I am more than a conqueror. I am free. I can live confidently knowing that my effort and work on this Earth will not be in vain nor swallowed up by some evil world system. I am unafraid of what the future will bring. I can be bold in proclaiming the Truth, knowing that He is able and willing to back me up. I believe that I will die without ever seeing Jesus face to face, but that I see His Spirit every single day—somewhere, always working, always improving, always changing my world for the better.
This the source of my faith. It is certain and sure. It is life changing.
This is not utopian. There is no room here for the belief that man can create heaven on earth or anything even remotely approaching that. I am keenly aware of my own sinfulness and how far short I am of the goodness of God. I have no faith that man, neither individually nor collectively, can redeem himself. Man, without the intervention of Jesus into his life, is firmly within the grasp of Satan, who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. As Satan’s agent on Earth, unrepentant man will act out in the same manner. Man cannot save himself and his institutional attempts at the salvation of the world will always end in abject failure.
This is reality. It is certain and sure. There will never be utopia on earth as long as sinful man exists.
Contrary to Jaime (see above), post-millennialism does not teach “No suffering, no gain.” It does not glorify suffering for the sake of gain. Rather, it emphasizes that, as representatives of Christ, we make progress in spite of the pain and setbacks we endure. Jesus Himself said that we will suffer, but that we are not to be discouraged in it because He has overcome and that we reign with Him.
Neither does pre-millennialism teach that we can do anything we want and be callous of the suffering our actions cause simply because we will be “raptured out” of our troubles. There may be those who live this way, but the doctrine is quite adamant that we are to conform ourselves to the image of Christ. If Jaime’s statement was to be believed, it would read, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for we will be raptured soon.” Absolutely unscriptural.
Jaime is right about one thing, though. There is no human solution to the human condition. Of that, I am also certain. Man can break eggs. Only God can restore them.
I am unsure if this has answered your question or not. If so, then I will let it stand. If not, please fine tune your request. Thank you.
Roger, I am not sure yet either - only because I want to read and reply to one section at a time. Wherever this ends up, I thank you for being so open and thorough.Delete
So, for part 1...our experiences are quite identical. Closer to being identical than it is worth trying to explain the differences. The one difference worth touching on...
Where you actively and consciously rejected it at fifteen years of age, my "rejection" (it isn't quite the right word) was more passive, and came in my early or mid-twenties. I don't recall a point anywhere in there that I said to myself "this can't be right" or something like this. I just stopped attending church for many years - or maybe I would try one once or twice and then nothing for a year or whatever. I would say both for reasons in my personal life as well as reasons such as you have cited.
I guess one other difference: a big influence in my family is the Scofield Bible and what this says about how we must support the modern state of Israel. Again, up until this point in my life, the issues surrounding this belief were not meaningful to me...this would come later.
Part 2... Ed Clark is also the first LP candidate I recall. I still have a memory of a campaign brochure, and thinking "this sounds pretty good." But I was still in the Republican way of thinking, and Reagan sure could talk a good game.Delete
By intro though, came a bit earlier - and I have mentioned this here before. 2112 by Rush, the first side is one song, "Dedicated to the genius of Ayn Rand." Well, who is this "Ann" Rand? Off to the library I go, and find the book that the song is based on, Anthem. Instead of a light bulb, Rush inserts a guitar.
More Rand books, Reason Magazine...I remember finding leaflets in Rand's books for things like Laissez Faire Book Club or things like this. So I bought a few.
I have a copy of Mises's "The Theory of Money and Credit," published in 1980 by his wife. It looks as new as the day I bought it - probably because it is tough reading and I just gave up. Not the easiest place to start down the Austrian path.
But, still, no real Christian turn (or return, if you like) - this reading of libertarian stuff began during the time referred to above - toward the end of my church attendance days, and through the next several years of little or no attendance.
Add to part 2: I also struggle with the unconditional surrender part - a lot. God gave me skills to solve problems, and my pride requires me that I must. Others, not as strong as I am, need the help, so I shouldn't take up God's time away from them (as if He is limited in this...).Delete
I know that this thinking is dangerous, and I pray that if anyone in my life has to pay for this pride that it is only me. I also pray that it is removed, but the first prayer is more important to me...which, I know, is a problem.
part 3: for me, not through North or any other version of Protestantism...I have attended an Orthodox Church for perhaps 20 years. So strange for me, growing up in Protestant church. Eventually the symbolism and worship has won me over.Delete
A couple of years ago, I started thinking about returning to a Protestant Church of some sort (the reasons why are not important). I was visiting my dad and attended his - the church where I had my first few years (which I don't remember), and where there is a picture of me as a one year old turning over a shovel of dirt in the groundbreaking.
Nothing at all wrong really with the service or teaching, but it dawned on me how meaningful the symbolism was, and that there was something more "worshipful" for me in the Orthodox setting.
I don't say right or wrong about any of these - I think it is a blessing that we are given different ways to worship God, some of which might speak better to some than others. Once I get past the "Mere Christianity" stuff of Lewis, I have come to a point where I don't get worked up about it.
As to the pre-mil or post-mil...and I will say that this applies to many topics Christians divide over (creation, the precise nature of Christ (albeit, there is "God" in there somewhere, somehow), the relationship of grace and works (although grace comes first), etc.)...I have come to the point where it doesn't matter to me. It doesn't change what I am called to do today, each day.
Specifically on the pre-mil / post-mil...would I live any differently? We are each given fruits of the Spirit, we are to not hide these under a bushel (I know I am mixing things up, but you get my point). Jesus gave us the greatest commandment and the one right next to it. None of this changes for me, regardless of my belief or understanding of the end-times (or how the world was created, or the precise nature of Christ - as if I can understand it even if God told me directly - etc.).
But, this comes back to my question to you: do you believe that you would live or act any differently if you continued to believe pre-mil? Is there some change evident in Scripture that would effect your calling and actions depending on your belief on this topic?
That, ultimately, is my question to you as an individual. Not how it might effect others, but how it would effect you?
Live your life like Christ is returning any moment.Delete
Make decisions, keeping in mind how will it affect 2 or 3 of your generations and if Christ's return is 200 years away.
I am probably amillenial. I will spare you my trip. I think all that remains is Christ's return.
Just think how the Church's suffering in the 1st and 2nd certificate are an indication on how bad it can get without crossing into Tribulation territory.
Also, I am almost convinced that these uSA may be the Revived Roman Empire and Israel the idol of many christians.
You have written extensively about finding meaning in one's life and the impact it has. I found no real meaning in pre-millennialist doctrine. After I left the "fold" and experienced the years of "rumspringa", I probably would have spent a very large amount of my time searching other religions for that meaning, to fill the void, and come up short every time. I might have (can't say) returned to the "faith of my fathers" at some time, but if I had, it probably would have been as an old, broken man with no hope except that Jesus would come back soon to take me out of here. Without getting into the nuts and bolts of it, I found (find) the doctrine to be pessimistic, fatalistic, and an exercise in futility.
If I had not discovered post-millennialism and learned that my life's work DID have meaning and purpose in the here and now, then there is the distinct possibility that I would have simply left this world of my own accord, without waiting for Jesus or the Grim Reaper. I found a reason to live in the message of post-mil doctrine which does not exist in the pre-mil.
It is the same Lord, the same Spirit, the same Gospel, but a very different outlook on the future of the world. All I can say is that the post-mil message gave (and gives) me hope for the future of my world while I still live in it. The pre-mil message did not, does not, and will not. It only gave me hope of heaven.
Have I been changed by the switch? Without a doubt. I have compared the two, left the one for the other, and will never go back. I am better off for it.
Roger, while I know it need not be like this, I understand why it both can be and often is as you describe. The pre-mil idea has a "this world is not my home, I'm just a' passin' through" flavor to it, and I know many in the pre-mil camp who live this way.Delete
Like I said, I don't think it must be like this (I suppose one can be pre-mil and still believe we are living in Christ's kingdom now with what this entails), but I also know somethings anecdotally via real relationships of mine.
Thank you for engaging on this.
If I may, I would like to offer one qualification to my remarks.
My experience with pre-mil doctrine is of the pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation, rapturist variety. My experience with post-mil doctrine is of the dominion variety as explained above.
It is quite probable, perhaps certain, that there are other interpretations of these eschatologies with which I am not familiar. They may very well differ from my stated beliefs and opinions.
In short, I have offered one version that I know about. No one should take my word as gospel, but rather research the issue personally.
The parable of the wheat and the tares has a principle within it that is relevant to the discussion of margins in society and the quest for utopia.ReplyDelete
The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
torturing people for their own good is evil. It is also the default position of many progressive democrats.ReplyDelete