Shane’s recent post about millennial views got me thinking again. Here I am with so many theological thoughts, and still not stand on eschatology.
When I was thirteen, I had my first introduction to eschatology. Our youth pastor did a whole series. I learned about the rapture, the tribulation and so on. We even watched the old 70’s movie, A Thief in the Night. I had all of the scripture references, even underlined in my Bible. But it was about that same time, that I realized that there were differing views, and that maybe not everything that I had been taught in Church could be proven with scripture.
It was at summer camp that same year, and years to follow that there were more series on eschatology. I would annoy the teacher with my questions. "So where is that in scripture?" That seemed to be the question asked the most. "Is that what it really says, because I am just not seeing it?" And the teacher would respond "Yes, that is what it says." After a while, I just left it alone. For years in fact.
And then I became a Calvinist, and ultimately reformed altogether. At some point I studied eschatology again. Of course only to find out that what I had been taught previously was not held to by Reformed Theologians. Of course not all reformed people agreed on eschatological views. I met the Premillennialists and the Amillennialists. Having respect for Kim Riddlebarger, I obtained his series on amillennialism, and maybe even called myself an amillennialist for a few days. But I really wasn’t totally convinced.
I came into contact with some partial preterists. I pretty much wrote them off as they tended to have other crazy views. Sometimes they were theonomists, or tended towards extremism.
And then I met Dr. Kelly Birks. He attended our Church for a while. I knew he was a full preterist, but I really didn’t think a lot about it. That is until we developed a relationship with him. I respected much of what he taught, and at some point decided to listen to his 2nd Coming Series series. Of course I did so amongst the eye rolling of many friends. In fact some people treated me as if I was considering joining a cult, light interventions and all.
I have found that most people have views on preterism, and yet they have not studied it. I am not a preterist at this point, but what I can tell you is that after listening to the 2nd coming series, I do understand why some hold to it. It does need to be pointed out that there are differing views even within preterist camps. There are many respected theologians with preterist leanings, like R.C. Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff. In fact when I wrote to one of the smartest theologians I know, he even expressed that he was himself leaning towards a partial preterist view after studying the subject. He said that he had looked into Josephus’ writings of events during A.D. 70 and was surprised to read accounts of chariots in the sky and other events that seemed to support preterist views.
All of this to say, that eschatology is not an easy subject. As with anything, it is important that we go back to scripture, and be careful to not to quickly take a stand on something just because others we know and respect do. And most importantly, let not even this study be a distraction to what is really important, the clarity and preaching of the gospel, and living now to the glory of God.