Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Five Dangers of Poor Eschatology

Today is December 04, 2012. If the Mayans have anything to say about it, we only have about 17 days left on earth. The verdict is still out on how exactly it’s going to go down. Personally, I think when all is said and done Richard Simmons will somehow be to blame. But just in case this prediction is wrong—as it likely will be—I thought perhaps I should explain why poor eschatology is dangerous.

First, I need to tell you what I mean by poor eschatology. I don’t mean that you have to have your millenial position nailed down. Nor do I mean that you have poor eschatology just because you believe in a rapture (which I do not). What I consider poor eschatology is that which is held too highly, too certainly, and too sweepingly.

Certainly it is not wrong to have confidence in your view of the end times. But at the end of the day, apart from a confession that Christ will return, the specifics of eschatology is a third tier issue. To make it more is to hold it too highly, too certainly, or too sweepingly. Doing such has caused problems in the church since the first century. Here are 5 dangers of poor eschatology:

  1. Passivity—This is what happened to the church at Thessalonica. They became so certain in their eschatology that it lead to inactivity. The same thing happens in our day. Some people respond to the problems in our culture by holing up in their bomb shelter instead of continuing to spread the kingdom of Christ.
  2. Misplaced Focus—I’ve been here before. You get so excited about rapture charts and other end times material that it becomes your entire relationship with Jesus. You begin to judge people’s relationship with Christ based on their view of the rapture. Your focus has become centered on the return of Christ instead of the Christ that is returning.
  3. Misreading—Not only the Scriptures but also the newspaper. You read everything through the lens of your eschatological views. Earthquakes aren’t meant to provide strength to our eschatological views. Earthquakes are meant to provide opportunities for love and mission. 
  4. Misapplication—You not only misread Scripture but you also misapply it. You apply things to the realm of the end times that are not meant to be applied that way. Passages that ought to call us to repentance are used to show how messed up the world is and how it will be judged.
  5. Misrepresentation—With every false prediction the credibility of believers and the claims of Christ become a little less serious. Christians are mocked for our silly end times hysteria and the cause of Christ is harmed. The gospel is misrepresented when it becomes a ticket to end times security instead of union with Christ.

These are five dangers, I could list more. I also suppose that someone could write an article about 5 dangers of neglecting eschatology. It is an important doctrine but it needs to be held appropriately.

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