Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Eschatological Discussion

When I first became interested in theology, it seemed as though Eschatology was one of my favourite points of interest, as well as one of my favourite discussions to get involved in. Recently I have been guilty of calling this field of study a peripheral issue and taking less interest in it than I once did.

I was recently challenged by a friend and mentor who said that if God's Sovereignty is a central issue because it reminds us who is in control, who is "driving this boat" so to speak, then Eschatology is a central issue because it tells us where he's taking everything... or "where he's driving the boat."

I have considered myself a "soft Amillennialist", though I am fully aware that my favourite dead theologian (Jonathan Edwards) was a post-millennialist and my favourite alive theologian (John Piper) is a historic premillennialist.

Jude and I have often talked about how often our studies in theology come down to which experts we are going to trust because we have less access to historical research and less knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. Certainly to say guys like Piper, Packer and Grudem are more intelligent than me is like saying Jude can defeat me in an arm wrestling match -- the statement is true but fails to communicate how outmatched I am.

While it remains true some issues need me to trust the fallible research of men (for example the complimentarian expert argues that women were educated when the New Testament was written and egalitarian experts argue they were not... both citing historic evidence to prove their statement), I am convinced that I need to open up my bible and prayerful wade through the text as best I can. It is not sufficient for me to call myself a "soft amillennialist" because belief without conviction is prone to apathy.

So... all that to say, I am waist deep in to a book called "An Eschatology of Victory" by J. Marcellus Kik that I have been finding incredibly challenging and refreshing. Over the next few days I am going to post some of my recent thoughts on my journey to find a hard position on one of the three orthodox stances.

The following is a video from Desiring God ministries in which John Piper mediates a discussion between Sam Storms (representing Amillenialism), Jim Hamilton (arguing for premillennialism) and Doug Wilson (who takes a postmillennial stance).

I think that Jim is rather abrasive and continues to push his point of the literal reading of Rev. 20 without responding well to counter-points. I think Storms articulates himself best, but I imagine he's hard to argue with (For example: "Well, to believe that I'd have to abandon my belief in biblical inerrancy", to which Piper responds, "Good grief Sam!"). I find Doug to be the most warm character of the three and I think he argues himself well, but once Piper jumps in to back Jim against Doug he seems to back away.

Video removed due to lag... just google: "An Evening of Eschatology"

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