Monday, February 09, 2009

Eschatology 101: Repent! The End is (possibly) Near(er)!

Here is the link to the latest radio show.

Eschatology 101

The show can also be downloaded through the itunes podcast. Simply search for in the itunes store (the download is free).

Here is the description of the show as written by my good friend Christopher Neiswonger.

The Radio Program for Friday night February 6th on KKLA 99.5

Hosted by Christopher Neiswonger with special guests Donald McConnell, Dean of Trinity Law School in Santa Ana CA, Pastor Kent Moorlach of Communion Presbyterian Church of Irvine CA and Doug Eaton College and Career Minister of the 1st Southern Baptist Church of Downey CA.

The other day I was driving by USC and I saw a guy on the street with a sandwich board that said, “Repent! The End is Near!” I’m not the kind to argue with something as authoritative as a sandwich board, but really, this is not the church’s historical position on these things. The sandwich board should have read, “Repent! The end could possibly be near depending upon your hermeneutic and your eschatological position!” But it’s hard to fit all of that on a sandwich board, so, we at are bringing in the experts to show and tell on the end or thereabouts; give or take a millennia.

The Four Big Players Are: The Dispies, the Premies, the Amils, and the Posties.

Dispensational Premillenialism (The newest innovation in eschatology and the current default position in American Evangelicalism, popularized mainly through religious fiction like the “Left Behind” series. Important points include the distinction of Israel and the Church, a series of returns of Christ, the coming of the AntiChrist, The tribulation (pre-mid-or-post), the battle of Armageddon, and the literal thousand-year reign of Christ, on the earth, before the several judgments. Since Dispensationalism seems to be a fading hermeneutic, and it has suffered dozens of failed predictions of the imminent end of the world over the last 50 years, it’s questionable whether this one will survive even with its iconic pop culture status.)

Historic Premillenialism (A position held by many in the early church but carefully avoiding the dispensational understanding of the relationship between Israel and the Church, the nature of the age, and the interpretation of key eschatological texts. With many leaving the Dispensational understanding of scripture for Progressive Dispensational and Reformed understandings of some key texts, Historic Premillenialism is receiving a bit of a revival among those that have a Premillenial expectation without what might be thought of as eccentricities in the Dispensational Premillenial camp.)

Amillenialism (A position that would take much of what Premillenials think to be about the end of the world to be about the historical past (the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. for example) and takes much of what is taken by the church today to be eschatological to be better understood as spiritual in nature. For most Protestants, the system simply has too little practical application and seems overly dismissive of major portions of biblical text.)

Postmillennialism (The current minority position that has at times been the majority position and by far the most influential in early American Christianity. There are two active forms currently vying for the claim to the title postmillennial: the theologically Liberal version that translates eschatological data into a program for social action and tends to be dismissive of any literal reading of the text, and the theologically Conservative version that sees the progress of the gospel in history as being recognizable in tangible effects upon the Church, the State, and the culture writ large; culminating in the return of the King. Though conservative American theologians could have been assumed to postmillennial a couple of hundred years ago, this system has yet to get past the fact that the dominant form of postmillennialism in the last century was identified with Liberalism, and Liberalism being identified with apostasy, causes an instant wariness and lack of credibility in the Evangelical mind.)

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