While this may look like a new series, it really isn’t. If you’ve been around for less than a year, you probably haven’t seen me post anything about eschatology. Depending on what you think that word means, what follows below may have very little to do with “eschatology.” When it’s construed as end times scenarios, I think eschatology in that sense is inherently speculative and shouldn’t take too much of our focus.
However, when eschatology is thought of as the culmination of redemption history and an area of thought focused on understanding ultimate things and not just last things, then I think it is a) something every Christian should study, and b) something that will have practical implications for how you live your live now.
Whatever is most ultimate in your eschatology is what you are living your life for. It is what your hope is set on and it’s what you’re longing to see or achieve one day. In other words, everyone has a native eschatology, not about how the end times will play out (though many do), but concerning what the point of history is and why we are still here living our lives. The question is whether or not you have a Christian eschatology, and if so, how that might be drawn from Scripture. A smaller question is the order of events in the culmination of history (is there a rapture? if so, is is before, during, or after the tribulation? is the millennial kingdom later, or is it now?). It is a shame though that many people only focus on those questions, or make them dividing lines in the theological sand.
While I probably don’t even come close to answering most of the those kinds of smaller questions, I do touch on them. I’m more concerned with the larger eschatological questions, and just so you know, that’s what an eschatology class looks like at Dallas Seminary. While Dallas is distinctively known for dispensationalism, our eschatology class wasn’t end times chart after end times chart. You might find it surprising, but we spent several weeks in Genesis discussing God’s purposes in creation, and only part of a week on the order of events leading up to Christ’s second coming. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was a great class and it helped me clarify my thinking in several areas.
As I was processing all this (roughly 2 years ago now), I of course blogged on it. I had meant for it to be a series, but these posts were written were before I linked posts in a series together the way I do now. So, a couple of years later, here I am making a table of contents page for a series that is actually already long completed.
That means instead me of announcing an upcoming series that may or may not be finally finished, I’m announcing a finished series. That way, you can just go ahead and dig through these posts and tell me what you think.
Alright, here’s the line up:
- Adventures in Eschatology
- The Temple and The Church’s Mission
- Old Creation
- The Overlap of Ages in The Kingdom
- Tribulation and New Creation
This certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it does cover most of the bases. I’ll have a review up soon of 40 Questions About the End Times, and may revisit some of these topics in my Second Thoughts series.
Especially as we’ve been going through Mark at CrossPointe I’ve been reminded that eschatology is an important topic and transcends discussions of end-times scenarios. Some of my reading in N. T. Wright is pushing me to re-think things even further than I did above as I was taking eschatology at Dallas. Even further developments are owed to my reading in The Cross From a Distance, but you’ll have to wait on a post from that book until next week.