Friday, May 25, 2007

Guess their Eschatology (Installment #1)


Based on these quotes, what would you guess is the author's view of the culmination of human history?

Since the Savior's advent in our midst, not only does idolatry no longer increase, but it is getting less and gradually ceasing to be. Similarly, not only does the wisdom of the Greeks no longer make any progress, but that which used to be is disappearing. And demons, so far from continuing to impose on people by their deceits and oracle-givings and sorceries, are routed by the sign of the cross if they so much as try. On the other hand, while idolatry and everything else that opposes the faith of Christ is daily dwindling and weakening and falling, the Savior's teaching is increasing everywhere! Worship, then, the Savior "who is above all" and mighty, even God the Word, and condemn those who are being defeated and made to disappear by Him. When the sun has come, darkness prevails no longer; any of it left anywhere is driven away. So also, now that the Divine epiphany of the Word of God has taken place, the darkness of idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are enlightened by His teaching.
- Athanasius (293-373 AD)
I will shake heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will move all nations, and the desired of all nations shall come." The fulfillment of this prophecy is in part already seen, and in part hoped for in the end. For He moved the heaven by the testimony of the angels and the stars, when Christ became incarnate. . . . So we see all nations moved to faith; and the fulfillment of what follows, "And the desired of all nations shall come," is looked for at His last coming. For before men can desire and wait for Him, they must believe and love Him.
- Augustine (354-430 AD)
Before God there remains nothing of which we can glory save only his mercy, by which, without any merit of our own, we are admitted to the hope of eternal salvation: and before men not even this much remains, since we can glory only in our infirmity, a thing which, in estimation of men, it is the greatest ignominy even tacitly to confess. But our doctrine must stand sublime above all the glory of the world, and invincible by all its power, because it is not ours, but that of the living God and His Anointed, whom the Father has appointed King, that He may rule from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth; and so rule as to smite the whole earth and its strength of iron and brass, its splendour of gold and silver, with the mere rod of his mouth, and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel; according to the magnificent predictions of the prophets respecting His kingdom (Dan. 2:34; Is. 11:4; Ps. 2:9).
- John Calvin (1509-1564 AD)

David was not a believer in the theory that the world will grow worse and worse, and that the dispensation will wind up with general darkness and idolatry. Earth's sun is to go down amid tenfold night if some of our prophetic brethren are to be believed. Not so do we expect, but we look for a day when the dwellers in all lands shall learn righteousness, shall trust in the Savior, shall worship thee alone, O God, and "shall glorify thy name." The modern notion has greatly damped the zeal of the church for missions, and the sooner it is shown to be unscriptural the better for the cause of God. It neither consorts with prophecy, honours God, nor inspires the church with ardour. Far hence be it driven.
- Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892 AD)

The Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, clearly reveal that the gospel is to exercise an influence over all branches of the human family, immeasurably more extensive and more thoroughly transforming than any it has ever realized in time past. This end is to be gradually attained through the spiritual presence of Christ in the ordinary dispensation of Providence and the ministrations of His church.
- A. A. Hodge (1823-1886)


14 comments:

Sean Brandt said...

This kind of stuff will get you into trouble.

Frontier Forest said...

Pastor of much wisdom,
Please pardon my ignorance, but let me try to clarify your pontification?
To the past-pillars of the church, whom you have quoted, are you asking your readers to guess whether their thoughts on end times are Amillennial, Premillennial, Postmillennial or Preterist, or are you asking your readers to respond to the author’s views, meaning you?

AJF said...

Sean- Just asking an honest question! But you are right.

Woody-guess their thoughts...

M. Jay Bennett said...

Amil?

AJF said...

Jay- -BUZZER SOUNDS-

M. Jay Bennett said...

Buzzer as in I hit a half-courter just before time expired?

or

Buzzer as in I got it wrong?

Frontier Forest said...

Now that I think I understand, may I throw my 2 cents in the pile! Having spent the first 35 years of my Christian life, spewing for Pretrib/Permill ideas, and now rapidly becoming a total reform-addict, I see the light and gladly eat of the old proverbial Pretrib/Permill crow! Don't know I am totally with the ALLLLLMILL boys yet, still thinking Partial/Pret might be for me?

Wayne said...

I bet they have Post Tosties for breakfast.

AJF said...

I'm enjoying this...

Jay- the latter...

Qayaq said...

It seems pretty obvious the point you are trying to make is that these men are post-millennial. Due to the fact that you are the same and the idea of everything becoming progressily more "Christian" or under the rule of Gods government on earth first through the family, then moving up from there until everything is under God and his laws.

I did not know Spurgeon was of this opinion.

AJF said...

Actually, it's hard to pinpoint Spurgeon. The quote definitely smacks of a victorious outlook for the Church this side of Christ's final return, however, he made other statements that seemed more pessimistic...hard one to nail down for sure.

M. Jay Bennett said...

Dang! I figured that was the case.

Although, I think it is difficult to peg anyone tightly prior to the Reformation. The relatively tight categories we have developed just weren't as developed back then.

I think.

AJF said...

You're right Jay. Spurgeon is the most interesting, being a contemporary with the Darby dispy's. Some of his quotes go one way, while others go the seeming opposite way. The early church guys, especially those just the other side of Constantine, were pretty optimistic. One can't deny, the current situation in history seems to have an input in one's eschatological outlook.

M. Jay Bennett said...

Yep. I remember Dr. Burns saying in Eschatology class that Israel's re-taking of the land in '48 couldn't have been the fulfillment of prophecy because the prophecies are of the restoration of a believing Israel. THAT statement shook a lot of students up.