I have a new article up over at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission blog on the role eschatology plays in forming our ethics. I begin by writing:
Too often, the way evangelicals have talked about the end times has relegated the end times — to the end of time. But the Scripture asserts the end of the ages has come (1 Cor. 10:11, Heb. 9:26). It is sometimes suggested that evangelicals have been too focused on eschatology, the study of the end, but I think the opposite is true.
An earlier generation focused on prophecy charts and discussions of the rapture, antichrist, tribulation and the millennium; but younger evangelicals seem to talk very little at all about eschatology. It is not uncommon for me to hear a young seminarian assert, “Well, eschatology is not all that important.”
I think the problem with both groups is that they need to focus more on eschatology.
Tragically, in much of the popular talk about last things, Jesus is rarely a focal point. Jesus said that in his presence, “the kingdom of God was at hand” (Mark 1:15). The decisive time for God’s action of invading this present evil age with the glory of the age to come was at hand in the person of the seed born of woman — God’s own son, the anointed, incarnate, messianic king (Gen. 3:15, Matt. 12:28, Heb. 6:5).
When the church understands eschatology as an addendum restricted to the end of time, or as a relatively unimportant matter in Christian theology, the formative nature of Christian eschatology is jettisoned from the community of faith. Failure to acknowledge that we live simultaneously in two ages — the already but not yet of the kingdom — severs Christian living from redemptive history and an orientation toward eschatological hope.
To read the whole article, click here.