Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Eschatology - evaluation: Biblical roots and spiritual fruit

Guest blogger Mick Taylor continues his series on ‘the Last Days’

If the four millennial views are placed on a spectrum according to their attitude to mission and the church, then a clear pattern emerges.

Post-millennialists are the most optimistic about the church and have the widest possible view of mission. For them the Church will be so effective in evangelism that one day Christians will be the dominant influence in society and international relations. Mission is seen as bringing the Lordship of Christ to bear on every sphere of culture.

Dispensational pre-millennialists are at the other end of the spectrum. Historically they have been negative about the Church and have a very narrow view of mission. A foundation of the dispensational view is that during different periods of history (dispensations) God has worked in different ways giving people different tests. In the Garden of Eden it was not to eat the fruit, now it is to believe in Christ. Every dispensation has ended in failure. The letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation 1-3 are often seen as representing the history of the Church and according to this view we are now in the period of the Laodicean church - lukewarm - and fit only to be spat out! Mission is seen almost exclusively in terms of evangelism and the institutional church, at least, is doomed to failure.

Typically Classic pre-millennialists and a-millennialists have sat between these extremes. Through history the Church has known times of significant growth and influence but also the reverse. Until the end this oscillation is thought to continue. It’s what I call a 'Ho-Hum' attitude to church and mission.

To be continued...