Reactionary Eschatology: Intro

the Four Horsemen

"The Four Horsemen," a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, from the series "The Revelation of St. John"

These are not posts to criticize any particular view of Eschatology, they are just something that I hope we ALL will think about when we are trying to seek the truth in Scripture on any subject.

Here is the question we need to ask ourselves when trying to discover the truth: Are current events or the Bible driving my theology? (or maybe it would be more accurate to ask: to what degree do current events vs. the Bible drive my theology?)

If our understanding is driven more by current events than it is by the Scriptures then I think we may want to seriously reconsider. Scripture, not our interpretation of events (past, current, or future), is inerrant and should be the foundation for our beliefs about God and His plan for creation. When we let current events drive our theology we are forcing an interpretation onto those events that may or may not be correct. People have done this throughout history and their expectations have failed to come to fruition (i.e. figuring out when Christ will return). This also causes us to constantly reinterpret Scripture to shape it into the mold of current events.

While we may do this in many areas of theology, I think that Eschatology is a good subject to demonstrate the danger of this practice. My rational is that there is some history on this particular issue that most people on the street probably aren’t aware of  (I know I wasn’t). The other major reason is that it is one of the easiest theological issues to connect with current events because we are awaiting it’s fulfillment. In the next few posts we will take a birds-eye view of the three main understandings of Eschatology and see the dangerous traps of reactionary theology in each understanding and maybe some of the reactionary theology in the history of each view.

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

8 responses to “Reactionary Eschatology: Intro

  • Jeff

    Thank you for that posting. The Bible is our firm foundation when it comes to a reference point for all things about God, Satan, believers, unbelievers, and the like. We can be so emotionally driven. I pray that whatever is happening around us, if our perception of it contradicts Scripture we will hold fast to the word of God.

    • Dan Allen

      Jeff

      Thanks for the comment. I also hope that if our understanding contradicts Scripture that we would stick with Scripture. The problem is that it is not always so easy to determine. Sometimes we think we are being true to Scripture, but our understanding of it is being distorted for whatever reason, and I think current events can be a big part of that. This all kind of falls under the contextual theology that Ed was talking about in our interview. Sometimes it can be so hard to even see that our views are swayed by our culture or context.

      Thanks again for the comment. I look forward to your thoughts on the rest of the series!

      Dan

  • PDK

    Hey Dan,

    Perhaps current events do not drive theology, they simply reinforce good theology. By good theology I mean…My theology…:O). Isn’t that what “we’ usually say?

    • Dan Allen

      Dave

      I think the big danger is when we think current events are reinforcing our theology and then suddenly current events prove our theology wrong, then we are left there saying, “now what do I believe?” This happens quite often when we try to see certain things as fulfillment of prophecy, but the expected result doesn’t occur. I think it will be hard to say how history fits into the prophecies concerning the End until after its all said and done (at which point we probably won’t even care anymore!). You know what they say, hind-sight is 20/20.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hopefully you will share more throughout this series!

      Dan

  • Steve Scott

    Dan,

    This should be a good series! My conversion happened via the “ministry” of Harold Camping right when he made his first false end-of-the-world prediction back in 1994. So, I’m fairly sensitive to bad eschatological ideas and how they affect people.

    I’m just curious if you’re going to make distinctions between dispensational pre-millennialism and historic pre-millennialism since you’re only giving three “main” views. I see two there, plus amillennialism and postmillennialism.

    • Dan Allen

      Steve

      I am not intending to distinguish between historic and dispensational premillennialism although I realize they have very different structures. Eschatology is not really the main point of the series, so much as Reactionary Theology is. Eschatology is just the perfect topic to shed light on this issue. Obviously, not all Premillennialists, whether dispensational or historic, follow this practice of trying to fit current events and Revelation together, but the overarching point is that it happens a lot, but hopefully, as you will see in the remaining posts, I can demonstrate that its not just Dispensational Premillennialists who do this. It is something we all have to be aware of in ourselves.

      Dan

  • Steve Scott

    I also like the term “newspaper theology.”

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