Sunday, July 16, 2006

Methodist eschatology

If you are not comfortable with the pretribulation premillenial viewpoint of the Left Behind series of novels, check out the new The Last Disciple series. Its written by Hank Hanegraaff from the Christian Research Institute. Its based on the preterist view of Revelation which says that Revelation was written before 70AD, that the Beast is Emperor Nero of Rome, and the Great Tribulation was actually taking place during the first century as Nero was persecuting Christians. Although there are some good points of persuasion to this viewpoint, the main problem with this is that practically no scholar, liberal or conserative, dates Revelation before 70AD. It is almost universally accepted that it was written around 95AD.

I have been frustrated to find that Methodists have basically no interpretation of eschatological events. We affirm that Christ is coming back, but that's it. Other than that, we've pretty much dismissed the pretrib premillenialists as fanatics, but offer no coherent alternative.

The more I study that Scripture and read differing viewpoints on my own, the more I'm coming into agreement with the pretrib premillenial view. I'm not sure where I'll end up, but for now, it seems the most convincing.

14 comments:

Streakin' Deacon said...

Just for conversation, I believe that we UM do not need to get too involved with eschatological "opinion". No where does our Lord encourage us to study or invest time figuring this out. The message is that Jesus is coming, when we are not likely ready, will He find us urgently seeking & bringing the lost to salvation? Should we really be looking for a sign that would make us to become urgent?
Otherwise, I cannot jump on board with the pretrib "Left Behind" view of so many with whom I often find agreement. It seems wishful & a little arrogant that we will be rescued before real trouble comes - it goes against all the history of Christians who have faithfully faced it & died as martyrs. I fear that we will have many disheartened believers who believed firmly that they would not have to suffer.
Just a thought for today - good blogging, Jason....

Anonymous said...

I agree with the position that it really doesn't matter which view, and would go so far as to say that the whole thing distracts from our mission here. If all the countless hours and dollars put into influencing others opinions were instead put into spreading the message of God, how much better would our world be? Just a thought.

Jason Woolever said...

good thoughts, guys. my thought is that we need to have investigated the eschatology issue because of the huge interest in the world today. another reason is because Jesus spent a good deal of time teaching about it, and the apostle's did as well. to ignore it is to ignore huge portions of the Word of God. Why would he include it if he didn't intend us to study it and be aware.

I do believe that Jesus said we would have many tribulations. But the Great Tribulation, from the pre-trib point of view, is God's righteous judgment on the unbelieving world. Pretribers often point to the Sodom and Gomorrah example of how God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked.

Jason Woolever said...

anonymous, isn't "spreading the message of God" itself "influencing the opinions of others?"

Isn't that what we're all trying to do?

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need to study and teach all of what God wrote. I disagree that we need to devote so much time and effort into creating division in the body of Christ. Jesus spoke a message of love, of being prepared, and of spreading the Word. God's word is set up so that each generation has had reason to believe the end could come at any moment. If we leave it at that, and not pretend we can figure out His moment of return than we can focus on the urgent task at hand. Where does God in His word ask us to debate? Does it really matter if you are pre-trib? He does however tell us very clearly to spread the word. Yes that does include all of the Word. However, the greater message is being left behind when we spend so much time trying to figure out what we were not meant to know.

Jason Woolever said...

good point.

divisiveness is bad.

study is good.

however, i don't think its fair to say that pretribers like to argue more than other christians; and hardly any of them would claim to be able to predict the day or the hour. i don't know of one that would claim that.

Anonymous said...

OK. I was raised a Lutheran, and Lutherans, like Catholics, Episcopalians and many others are what is known as "amillenial"; in fact millenialism which was first widely publicized by Darby and the Plymouth Brethren is seen as heretical and speculative.

What I see of millenialism is that it seems to be an effort to justify whatever brutalities the current political state of Israel chooses to inflict on the Arabs, Christian and Muslim alike.

Jason Woolever said...

i agree with you that this view has major political ramifications, some of which are very dangerous.

saint david said...

Your desire to understand scripture is a worthy one,if you are in the realm of being a teacher to anyone of Biblical truth. James 3:1 points out the seriousness of being a teacher.(My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall recieve the greater condemnation.) The word masters, is rendered by other translations as 'teachers'.
In light of this warning, one must be willing to go beyond tradition (as Luther did), and what is popular (as LaHaye is), concerning Biblical teaching. Teaching truth comes with a responsibility; therefore, a Biblical teacher must be concerned that he is indeed teaching the truth.
If one has an open heart for truth, not just a desire to hold onto tradition, or what is popular, one must seach out how to understand scripture.
I have found the 'Full Preterist' view to be a view which brings clarity and understanding to prophecy and to the words of Jesus, especially concerning his return.
Men (to name a few)who have been able to help me
understand this view are:
Don K. Preston at: http://eschatology.org
Kurt Simmons at: www.preteristcentral.com
and William Bell at: www.allthingsfulfilled.com
May your heart always be open to God, and to those whom you are teaching.
Stdavid

Spence said...

Eschatology is of the utmost of importance for Christians. We are supposed to look forward to the "blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".

Jesus was talking here about eschatology:

Luke 21:36
36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
NKJV

And John was talking here about eschatology:

Rev 1:3
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
NKJV

LearnBibleProphecy said...

You are definitely on the right track about your beliefs in Bible prophecy.

I think you would be especially interested to read this article, which describes why studying Bible prophecy IS important, and addresses some other common myths about that topic:

http://www.LearnBibleProphecy.com/myths

Anonymous said...

http://americanvision.org/6181/dating-the-book-of-revelation-clarifying-tommy-ices-clarifications/

Anonymous said...

I must say that I agree with Dr. Billy Graham of the Southern Baptists. I believe that the pretribulational is correct; however, one should not predict events. As Jesus said, no one knows when the Second Coming is. Even He did not know; on the contrary, only God the Father knew. It may be during our lives or perhaps we will have to walk the veil with Him. The Second Coming may come tomorrow or in a thousand years. I just do not know. I do know this: when I die, my eternal spirit will be with Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Charles E. Miller, BA,MAR

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that the second coming of jesus are already done right after the resurrection of Jesus Christ when Thomas dought that Jesus really resurrect from the dead?

For discussion porpuse.