Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eschatology matters

Russell D. Moore has been listening to a recording of Willie Nelson singing "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder." I owned that album once and discover that it is available on CD. My enthusiasm for Willie Nelson has diminished over time, but I still like his renditions of several good hymns on that record: The Troublemaker

The hymn inspired Dr. Moore to think and write about eschatology. Like some of those to whom he refers, I tend to shy away from people who have a very specific and detailed certainty about how the end of history is going to unfold. I once told a guy who approached me on a city bus wanting to persuade me of his version of the end times, that I was, in fact, a Christian and that the possibility that he or I might die at any minute was sufficient to focus my mind.

Dean Moore:
.... Now, what most Christians mean when they say eschatology doesn’t interest them is that prophecy charts don’t interest them, or that debates over millennial views or Rapture positions don’t interest them. That’s another story altogether (although these things are still important).

I’m emphatically not a dispensationalist, but I can gladly share fellowship with dispensationalists (how could I not? It was a church of dispensationalists who led me to Christ in the first place!). I’m not an amillennialist, but I can respect that view, and love learning and serving with my amil brothers and sisters. I don’t know a postmillennialist (unless you’re a friend of mine and you’ve been really quiet about it), but I enjoy reading a lot of godly dead postmillennialists (such as my hero Andrew Fuller).

We can’t, though, share a common witness with those who deny the resurrection of the body or the return of our Messiah Jesus or the judgment of wickedness. Those things are essential not only to our belief in the truthfulness of Scripture but to the gospel that saves.

Eschatology ought to fire up your adrenal glands. When you think about that Eastern sky exploding you ought to feel the zeal to evangelize, to congregationalize, and to live in the gratitude that when the roll is called up yonder, you’ll be there.
The hymn:
When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.


Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Moore to the Point by Russell D. Moore, When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

1 comment:


    Guess what. If you can figure out when the "sudden destruction" of wicked persons takes place in I Thess. 5:3 (and also when "death" is ended in I Cor. 15:54), you will know where to place the rapture on your prophecy chart because those passages talk about the "times and seasons" (and also the "when" and "then") of the rapture. Neat, huh? And if you would like to locate the ONE article that Ice, Jeffrey, Missler, Strandberg, Lindsey, LaHaye, Van Impe, Hagee, and Swaggart don't want you to read, visit the "Powered by Christ Ministries" site and click on "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" !


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