Friday, July 23, 2010

"When the son of man shall come in his glory..."

On another of those doctrinal disputes that tend to divide Protestant Christians, Lars Walker tells us he is largely agnostic [but wondering a bit about the signs of the times]:
While living in Florida some years back, due to limited choices I was attending a church of a different denomination than my own. It was a large, growing, dynamic congregation. The pastor announced a series of sermons on Revelation. But when he started preaching, it quickly became clear he was not teaching the Dispensational Premillenial (i.e., Left Behind) interpretation that's so popular in our day. He was an amillennialist.

Many congregation members were not happy about this, and made their opinion known.

After a few weeks of controversy, the pastor got into the pulpit one Sunday morning and announced that, for the sake of peace, he was discontinuing the sermon series on the End Times. Instead, he would take up a topic that would trouble people less.

“I'm going to preach on Hell,” he said.

Growing up in a Lutheran pietist church (yes, there are such creatures; I had no idea how rare we were at the time), I was introduced early to Dispensational Premillennialism, and had no idea there was any other way to approach eschatology.

In the years since, I've been sufficiently exposed to other systems (Joe Carter served up an excellent overview over at First Things yesterday) to leave me largely agnostic on the subject. When I hear speakers on the radio suggesting that anyone who holds a different view from theirs probably has a low view of scripture, I can only marvel at their assurance. As a Lutheran, I lean toward amillennialism, but my strongest conviction in this realm is that God probably didn't intend to give us a detailed timetable, so that we could pay off our mortgages ahead of time (or pile up a lot of debt, depending on our attitudes toward commerce and banking). .... [more]
Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments: I Am Not a Prophet, Nor the Son of a Prophet