But anyway, we went from there to the importance of a proper eschatology (aka the end times). But how relevant is one's view on the end of the world? Isn't our goal to love God and our neighbors, whatever we believe will happen in the future?
As we chatted together, I came up with one significant impact that a person's eschatology had on his lifestyle -
Take two people: Person A believes in what is called "postmillenialism," that Christ is currently reigning over heaven and earth. Additionally he believes that over the course of history the Gospel will continue to spread and grow and multiply until eventually one could say that the whole world was saved. Entire nations will voluntarily put themselves under the (gentle) yoke of Christ and there will be (in general) peace and unity under one banner.
Person B is "premillenial," believing that the Church will remain under great persecution (and thus very small) until the second coming of Jesus. Instead of the Gospel spreading publically and conquering nations, he sees the Gospel conquering privately in small packets of people, a remnant of nations. Until the Second Coming, the nations will always be opposed to Jesus and the spread of the Gospel.
Different people may want to phrase pre/post-millenialism differently or allude to different verses, but the general feel is one of optimism and one of pessimism when it comes to our life here and now. Both, of course, are highly optimistic for the life to come =D.
But say we had A and B, and say someone asked them if they were interested in cooperating with a group of people who were seeking legislation that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
I think that person A's tendency would be more towards being supportive of the group, even if he may not sign up with them. He may reason that since (according to his theology) eventually we'll get to a point were true marriage will be embraced by the whole world, this may be a good first step even though it's not his ideal picture.
Person B's tendency may be in opposing the group. He may reason that since Christ will be opposed anyway, there isn't really much of a point in passing legislation because the world may accept the laws, but they won't accept Christ. He might think that people forming such groups were wasting their time.
Of course, these two views are generalizations. I'm sure you can find post-millenialists who might discourage people from seeking that kind of legislation and pre-millenialists who might encourage, but I think the tendencies are there. Or at least I see that tendency in myself as I've embraced more of the post-millenial view of the end times.
Overall, while it may be hard to see exactly how one aspect of our view on life changes other parts, I think there definitely are connections if we look hard enough and the above example on eschatology is one case of that.
Labels: Christian Living