On the Priority of Eschatology

The exaggerated importance of adopting an eschatological position, via Aaron’s link to a lengthy treatise on J. Gresham Machen by John Frame. Oof. I was just speaking with Amy about this a few nights ago. Having “left behind” mainstream rapture-crazy dispensational premillenialism years ago, I’ve been wondering which eschatological outlook to adopt. Postmillenialism’s promise of the church bringing about the new heaven is far too humanistic to be considered properly Scriptural, preterism is too dismissive of prophecies which could not possibly have been fulfilled in the first century AD, and amillenialism just confuses me.

But the “Oof” that I oof above comes from the fact that perhaps I don’t need to categorically fall into a class of eschatological outlook to be a proper believer. Certainly I should not be so obsessed with researching possible “endtimes” outcomes at the expense of feeding the hungry and spreading the good news. “But if I have not love…”

That said, here is the bulk of my eschatology reading for the next year or so. But first, I need to reacquaint myself with the basics.

Update, four hours later: Speaking of eschatology, I failed to mention that ever-indispensable resource, the BLB: Four Views on the Millenium gives a nice, concise summary of the main branches of Millenial understanding, with bible links and bibliographic references.


  1. What??? Pau, I don’t know much about eschatology, but postmill=humanistic is goofy.

  2. Paulo says:

    Admittedly, the postmills=humanists idea is a product of my fundie Bible Baptist background: postmillenialism represented as the belief of the church rather than God bringing about the promise heaven on earth. I guess that’s a misinterpretation, but it’s not too far off from the postmill view that the world is gradually getting better and better via the influence of the church — by the grace of God, as a foil to the “humanist” angle.

    Mind you, I’m not down either on pretrib pessimism that the world is getting worse and worse. I left that view for good after reading Russ’ entry here: http://home.earthlink.net/~mybrainhurts/2001_01_01_archive.html#1860741

    And in my confusion about this whole eschatology thing, I need to reread Aaron’s link. (^^,’)

  3. The church is the body and bride of Christ. Whatever influence she has is His influence, under His authority, by His power, to His glory. It’s all about King Jesus, first to last.

  4. michael says:

    Valerie, do you believe in postmillenialism? There is definitely a certain faction of people who believe that it is our job to bring about the kingdom on earth so that Christ can return (e.g. some practitioners of liberation theology, certain of the “Religious Right”, etc.).

    I believe in post-trib premillenialism myself, and have well-founded scriptural reasons why, which I am glad to share with anyone who is interested. Prophecy was clearly given to us to show us what things must take place.

    I do think, however, that people shouldn’t make decisions about theology based on what they read on weblogs (no offense intended).

  5. I came from a very strong eschatologically included denomination. In fact, this denomination’s “gospel” seemed to be focus on eschatology.

    After my true born again experience, I lost interest on eschatology. Add to that what Rick Warren says in his Purpose Driven Life book, “If you want Jesus to come soon, forget about prophecy (read: eschatology), think about your mission (or evangelism)”.

    This is not to say that eschatology is not at all important. But as you have said, falling into an eschatological category is not needed to be a proper Christian.

    By the way, I was a “post trib, pre mill”.

  6. Sparticus says:

    I don’t think that we should forget about eschatology, as you know, these things are important. Certainly the principles that all Christians (well most I suppose) hold true about the end of the world are worth holding on to (Jesus wins, woo yeah!).

    Being an amillenist (amilleniumist?) I kinda feel that any attempt to point to an event in history and go ‘look, Revelation 4:27(or whatever)!’ is foolish.

    The best book I ever read on Eschatology was a commentary on revelation called ‘the message of revelation’ which is part of the bible speaks today series (which is v. popular among all the conservative evangelicals over here). Being primarily a commentary it doesn’t get too confusing. I’m a fan of it.

  7. Sparticus says:

    Oh, and while that was the best book I’ve ever read on Revelation, the best advice I was ever given was ‘read through what Jesus and Paul say about the end times first and make sure you understand that first, then use that as a guide in looking at revelation’. Helped me lots.

  8. Would someone mind developing an article on Eschatology over at Theopedia.com?

  9. Good reading that you’ve picked. May I suggest that you add “When the Kings Come Marching in: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem,” by Richard J. Mouw, and “Heaven Is Not My Home: Learning to Live in God’s Creation,” by Paul Marshall, with Lela Hamner Gilbert?