Reactionary Eschatology: Premillennialism

"The Woman Clothed with the Sun and the Seven-headed Dragon," a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, from the series "The Revelation of St. John"

In this series we are discussing this simple question:
Are current events or the Bible driving my theology?

Other posts in the Reactionary Eschatology series:
Intro

I am calling it Reactionary Theology when we let current events drive our theology. I want to look specifically at the affect of current events on our Eschatology. We will glance over each view and discuss its potential danger for reactionary theology and the reactionary theology contained within its history. the first view we will discuss is Premillennialism. I chose it first because it is the most popular view right now so I thought it would be a good launching point.

Premillennialism is surely the most popular view held today.  It states that we are living and Jesus will return before (pre) his millennial (1,000 year) reign. If you are like me, you believe this and don’t even know that there are any other views, but actually this view has only become popular over the last century or so.

Some major things that happened in the early 1900’s were the two World Wars, and the Great Depression. Also the Theory of Evolution was becoming popular and Atheism along with it. Premillennialism says that the world will get worse and worse until Jesus returns. Atheism? World Wars? Depression? Could those have been major catalysts to a huge shift in understanding the End Times?

This view normally reads Revelation and other prophecies in Scripture very literally, some say “literalisticly” meaning that Premillennialists overly literalize things that are clearly figurative, so it is very possible and very common to read current events into the text. This has led many to create timelines leading to the end, and to try to understand how close we are based on how they believe the events in the world fit into the prophecies of Scripture. The Left Behind series is a perfect example of understanding the prophecies about the End Times through current events. The authors of those books maintain that they are purely fictional, but if someone were to base his theology on similar grounds it would certainly be considered Reactionary Theology.

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About Dan Allen

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

6 responses to “Reactionary Eschatology: Premillennialism

  • Alan Knox

    I was once taught that if you’re not pre-mil pre-trib, then you’re not a Christian.

    -Alan

    • Dan Allen

      I guess that would disqualify lots and lots of believers throughout history like John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, and R.C. Sproul to name a few!

  • Alan Knox

    Yep. Of course, I didn’t say that I agreed with that position, only that I was taught it. 🙂

    -Alan

  • Steve Scott

    Dan,

    I distinctly remember when the first Gulf War started in the early 90’s. When Bush started bombing Saddam Hussein’s army, pre-mil Christians flooded the secular talk radio shows making all sorts of claims as to how this was the beginning of the end, tribulation, anti-christ, etc. Saddam wanted to be the new Nebuchadnezzar, and Iraq was part of prophesy. It was nuts. Of course when none of that ever happened, it calmed down and now nobody remembers even making those ridiculous claims.

    • Dan Allen

      Steve

      It is those kinds of things in particular that concern me. That is why Eschatology is such a perfect example of this “reactionary theology” concept, because what we believe about the End can be so driven by what is going on in our world, but haven’t people been predicting the End and associating things from their time with the prophecies of the End pretty much since the New Testament? And they have obviously ALL been wrong. We need something better than our current surroundings and events for a foundation for our beliefs.

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

      Dan

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