Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Some things to be thankful for, and an eschatological paradigm shift(?)

A recent Christianity Today article by Collin Hansen notes some very encouraging trends in the US. For instance, people between 18 to 30 are today more likely to oppose abortion than any other age group. Crime and drug use are down, academic scores are up, etc., etc.

But Hansen also draws implications from a connection between past religious revivals and the end-time views that prevailed during those revivals:

During two great awakenings before the Civil War, American Christians favored postmillennialism, a belief that the kingdom of God will expand during a millennial age of gospel preaching and social progress ...

But this view became much less popular as the revivals faded, the Civil War dragged on, and theological liberalism spread in America and Europe. Premillennialists saw these developments as signs of the end, when Christ would finally return to rule ...

If the trends identified by Wehner and Levin continue, it's possible evangelicals will see another paradigm shift in their eschatology.

So if things keep going well, more people will begin to subscribe to a postmillennial interpretation of Scripture (held by most puritans, by the way, but not by me.)

I would hope that intelligent Christians would base their understanding of Scripture on sound principles of exegesis (whether these lead them to pre- or postmillennial convictions), rather than societal trends, but I understand how what Hansen is saying could occur, especially at the lay level. An interesting notion, for sure. Feel free to comment.

1 comment:

WCK said...

Social declination has certainly contributed to Pre-Mil views and it would be equally foolish to be a post-Mil on the basis of the latest news. But, the "trend" will be worthwhile if it gets folks back in the culture to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples rather than waiting around in our little Christian enclaves for the rapture.


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