This is the planned introduction to the book version of the material found in this blog.
It has been quite a long time since I was first encouraged to take my twenty-four week Sunday School class discussing the various Eschatological views and put them into written form. The series of classes has been available to the public at www.sermonaudio.com for a while and had received quite a bit of positive feedback. At first I simply made the teaching notes available to those who were interested, but then several requests came in asking for the information in a systemized book form.
The delay has been a combination of laziness, busy work and family schedule; and the fact that I’m not really a writer. I love to teach and I take gathering and presenting the information quite seriously, but figuring out the best way to present the information in a written format seemed way “beyond my pay scale.”
Several people recommended I simply put the information into a blog and then work on editing from there. That is where it started and the book you now hold in your hand is the result of the long, though enjoyable, process of writing a blog on the subject of eschatology and seeing where it led.
I hope and pray that what you now have in your possession will be a challenge and a blessing. The information may not be easy to absorb and there may be new and puzzling information presented within these pages; but it is my hope that as we walk through these often difficult and disturbing ideas and images, that the reader will walk away blessed and refreshed with the knowledge that they serve One who not only knows their past and present but knows their future as well.
A REMEDIAL EDUCATION
This book is a remedial study on eschatology. By that I mean there is a sense that to truly grasp on to all the God has for us in this difficult subject it may require us to “unlearn” many false ideas and concepts and in turn replace them with Biblical ones. This means starting from the beginning and working our way through these foundational building blocks.
It is also remedial in that it is simplified. This material is taken from an average, Middle American Sunday School class. This information was not presented to theologians, Doctoral students, bastions of academia or even a room full of Pastors. This presentation was for lay people from all walks of life and levels of Biblical understanding. We take it slow and we explain everything. In the teaching of the class I assumed the audience new nothing on the subject, and I make the same assumption here.
For those looking for an advanced treatment on the subject I now refer the reader to the Bibliography located in the back of the book and I heartily recommend that you place this book on the shelf and look for something different. This is for the everyman. If you have heard about the Beast, the Antichrist and the mysterious numerical figure of 666 and it more than likely makes you feel uncomfortable than it does make you want to “dig in” and figure it out, than this book is for you.
My hope is the initial reader will be one who claims to be a “pan”millenialist; one who just believes that God will make sure that everything pans out in the end. But I also hope the reader is one who wants to know the word of God and the One whom that word reveals. Please note that we are told over and over that this difficult and disturbing subject is one in which the reader and the one who understands will be blessed.
But back to the question that initiated this Introduction. Why another book on eschatology? The bookstores are filled with them. Why is this one unique?
In one way this book is not unique in any way. The book is more of a “compilation” of sorts with very limited “original” information. Like those popular CD’s in which the best and most popular songs are brought together into one package this book is more of a compiling of the best and brightest on the subject.
But that is also what makes it unique. I have attempted to take the works of the best and the brightest and make them understandable for the average student. You do not need to possess any more of an education than the original recipients of John’s Apocalypse, the letters of Paul and the words of Jesus.
The word “Apocalypse” means to “unveil” or “reveal” and it seems that so many books on the subject have been filled with mystery and “secret codes” that only the esteemed authors of those books were privileged enough to have those secrets revealed to them. The hope of this book is to actually reveal; to make clear.
Most importantly this book has a two-fold purpose. The first is to remind the Church that this Jesus whom they serve is King of Kings and Lord of Lords today, right now, and forevermore. His kingdom is not wishful thinking, not one that has been postponed to some future fulfillment, but that His words ring true two millennia later when He said, “the Kingdom of God has come upon you!”
Secondly, and this is the primary thrust of the entire project, my goal is to remind the Church that she has a wonderful future. She is a bride being adorned for her husband. She has been called to do a job and it must be assumed that she we will complete it fully…on earth as it is in Heaven.
She has a future in which it is promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against her! With these two primary goals set, let us begin our careful consideration of the future…and the past!
But one last point of interest; the reader may wonder where the name of the book came from. There is a dual purpose for this book as was just explained, but there is also a dual purpose for the title as well.
First, there is a bit of autobiography present throughout the pages of this book. I Was a Teenage Dispensationalist. I was consumed with all things prophetic and studied the subject with a fervor like no other. I had charts, books, videos and sermons collected in a library.
As I grew my studies took me in a direction I never expected and the answers I thought I had sewn up soon burst at the seams. The dots no longer connected. The pat answers got a little bumpy. I was eventually introduced to long standing, historic views that I never even knew existed.
I often tell those in the class I teach that I was never upset that the Church I was raised in taught one primary view of acceptable eschatology. That’s not the problem. The problem arose when I was confronted with competing views and had no answer to their attacks. The problem was simply I was unaware of the opposing views because I was raised in a situation where not only was I taught one particular view, but that particular view was exclusively taught.
It was not that I was told there are several other views and here are the reasons why we believe they are not Biblically correct. I simply was never made aware of them. So, by default, I was a teenage Dispensationalist.
Secondly, the subtitle relating to an “Evangelically Incorrect” guide stems from popular phrase of being “Politically Incorrect.” It is an idea that goes against the norm, the presupposed, the popular or acceptable view within a worldview.
The fact that modern evangelicalism is so engrained and consumed with the Left Behind view of eschatology that to promote a differing view would be like the Politically Incorrect proponent, an act of Evangelically Incorrectness. But that is exactly what the book attempts to be; a guide to the views that many within evangelical circles are simply unaware of or have never given the effort to study and understand.
Yes, without a doubt many readers will find these views new, odd, rare or even troubling. But the reader must note from the outset that the different views portrayed within the pages have a rich a storied history with the annals of Church History and have been held by some of the greatest minds the Church has ever birthed. In fact, it is the current, most popular, view that has the shortest shelf life despite its immense popularity.
But with that being said it is simply a guide, a flicker of light into the darkened corners of theological studies that few in modern evangelicalism have dared to traverse. But I believe the effort is worth the uncomfortable feeling that accompanies the potential paradigm shift in thinking this guide may require.
Filed under: Dispensationalism, End Times, Eschatology, Preterism, Reformed, Revelation, Uncategorized | 1 Comment