So, what’s worse? Bad eschatology or no eschatology?
I think, a while ago, I would probably have said the first. Such a reaction would mainly have been driven with an increasing frustration with the whole Left Behind thing. Why? well;
1. It’s just poor handling of the Bible. I mean, think about, you should be seriously wanting to be left behind. Listen to what Jesus says,
Matthew 24:37-39 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Now, in the days of Noah, who was it that got swept away? The ungodly!!! That’s why I really want to be left behind. And that’s just for starters, don’t get me going on all the other dodgy stuff in it; poor understanding of apocalyptic genre etc.
2. This sort of poor handling breeds more poor handling. Just listen to the Left Behind apologists. They’ve been taught to eisegete.
Now, that’s still annoying but I think you have to face it that this is still better than no eschatology. At least even those running crazy on Left Behind are longing for the return of Jesus in judgement and salvation. But, when there’s not even contemplation of those things then is there really Christian faith?
I remember being quite shocked in my second week working in a church in Singapore. I was invited to attend a Bible study with a bunch of wonderful ladies who were finishing a series in Ecclesiastes. They asked me to present a summary of the book which I duly did and it went (in very simplistic form) like this:
i the writer thinks life is pretty meaningless because whatever you do you don’t get a fair payback
ii when the writer expands his horizon to eternity and judgement he realises that life is fair.
iii as a result he calls his reader to remember the Lord now before they get jaded.
What shocked me was that of the 12 dear ladies in the room only 2 of them said they even thought about eternity as part of their Christian thinking! So what were the rest thinking that Jesus accomplished?! I was stunned. What sort of Christian teaching is it that allows people to think that they’re Christian whilst never stopping to consider that they will be judged one day? How can Jesus be trusted as our substitute if there’s nothing to substitute for? Are they even actually saved?
So, dear reader, no eschatology is worse than bad eschatology. And, if you have no eschatology then get some – stop and think for a minute about the fact that there is a day of judgement coming, Jesus talks about it a great deal, and that if you aren’t right with the judge then no matter how rosy life looks now it’s going to go downhill very fast.
And, to be honest, I don’t care if you end up wanting to be Raptured or some other nonsense; just as long as you realise that that Day will come.