Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
Eschatology - what is your personal eschatological stance and if you are Premil what is your thoughts towards the other views? Also, if you are premil, why is it that some, or most, of the premils are not involved in the world such as in their city, state and country to help better society which i believe is possible.
Thanks for stopping by the website. Your question is valid. First, I would encourage you to go to the Bible answers tab on this website, and read the articles there regarding the issue you bring up. Here are several Q&A articles:
•Differentiate between what Covenant and Dispensational theology says about prophecy.
•Millennial Kingdom: who will be its occupants?
Also, in the ebook section, my commentary of the book of Revelation interacts in more detail regarding the different stances. Now, I go to your specific question.
1. My own personal view is the Premillennial view of future events. Here are some of my major reasons.
•A literal view of prophetic Scripture will lead to this view. To extend on this, since past prophecy has been fulfilled literally, it seems prudent to believe future prophecy will also be fulfilled literally.
•It was a major view of the Church Fathers. This is not to say it was the only view, but it was an acceptable option.
•It is the view of Orthodox Jews. It seems to me that the Old Testament writers understood what they were writing, and the Jewish scholars could understand what the OT writers were writing. The notion of a coming Messiah who will rule the world through Israel is a dominant view in Jewish theology.
Premillennial viewpoints have always held a distinct place in orthodox theology. It has not always been the dominant or most popular view, but it has been a legitimate option.
•A large segment of the evangelical Bible believing church today holds this view. Consequently, it is not a heretical view.
2. My view toward the other positions is one of genuine friendship, Christian courtesy, and cooperation. People who hold these other views are fine, born-again, Bible loving, Christ loving, very bright people. I love them dearly. And, in this day of such animosity and hatred toward Christianity, I certainly would not want us to be divided in anger over this issue. We must find as much common ground as we can to stand against a world who hates Christ, and the Judeo-Christian ethic and values. I think they are wrong to choose one of the other main views, but that is fine with me. But in this case, unity trumps being “right.” The only other valid views for traditional Christianity would be Amillennialism and Post millennialism.
Amillennialism believes that we are now in the millennial kingdom during this church age. When I read the portions of Scripture dealing with life in that kingdom, I see nothing in history or today’s newspapers that even remotely resembles life in that Millennial Kingdom. For example, the world is not bathed in peace and justice, but churns with turmoil, corruption, and evil. If it was not God holding back the forces of evil, we would all kill ourselves.
Postmillennialism believes the world will gradually get better through the domination of the Church, and then Christ will arrive. Same as above: I don’t see the world getting any better. In fact, it is getting worse.
3. It may be true that some Premils are not involved in helping to change the world. But, neither are some of those who hold the other views. How much Christians are to be involved in the world has always been a tension within Christianity.
There are those who believe we should have a Christian nation in that only Christians should rule in the political world, and that only Old Testament law should be used. Others separate themselves into a monastery without any (or much) contact with the world.
Here are some Scripture statements that point to the difficulty.
Jesus separated the sacred from the secular in terms of political involvement when He said, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). John wrote, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Furthermore, we are told, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Paul taught us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
These verses speak strongly against any ideas that we Christians are going to wrest control of the world from Satan who holds it securely in his grips along with his legions of demons – and whose primary objective is wickedness.
In contrast, however, there are other teachings that indicate we are to influence the world for Christ. For example, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). But, it is also interesting that the reason for our good works is that they might “glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). It is not for the better welfare or the world system.
Paul also taught Titus to be “zealous for good deeds…be ready for every good deed…be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 2:14; 3:1, 8).
James tells us, “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
We also learn to, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1).
4. So, based on these verses (and others), maybe we can come to some generalizations.
First, We are to influence the world, but it has to do with strategy and priority. The most important thing that holds a culture together is its values. If the foundational values of a culture are not good, then any form of government or person elected will not bring much good to the culture. The best way to change the values of a nation is to change the values of individuals that make up the culture. And that means evangelism – getting people saved, and to internalize Christian values. When those individuals enter the market place (media, education, business, politics, etc.), then they will make good decisions.
Second, one of the reasons some premils avoid involvement in the world is because of the controversy surrounding the “social gospel.” This is an American cultural issue. During the early 1900’s in America those who rejected the Bible, that is, the liberals, plunged into social work. They believed the gospel message was to root out evil by changing the social structures of society. In fact, that is the idea behind Liberation Theology. In order to change society, they believed you needed to grasp the reins of power. When you have the power of social structures, then you can force good on people as you define, “good”.
In contrast, evangelicals believed you change society by having the hearts of individuals changed. That is done through evangelism and the Holy Spirit changing the hearts and lives of people who in turn will bring good to society. Powerful tools include prayer, disseminating the Word of God, etc.
Third, then, there is the issue of state religion, or better, freedom of religion. Some of the greatest failures of the Christian experience in history was when well meaning Christians imposed by force their “official” brand of Christianity on others. That is one major reason America was born: to establish a nation where people were free to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience.
Fourth, and this speaks to priority, we only have so much energy and resources from a human point of view. It is important to focus on the most strategic areas. If we spend all of our time on trying to fix the world, then we spend less time on the Great Commission.
Fifth, the Great Commission gives us our primary marching orders, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
Sixth, premil’s do involve themselves in the world. We do humanitarian work, build hospitals, start schools, universities, form rescue missions to the inner city poor, start counseling centers, run for city council, school boards, and the like. The National Association of Evangelicals, who contains many premil’s, are a powerful American lobby group. Premil preachers speak out against evil from their pulpits.
Seventh, there is frankly no way that Christians can usher in a worldwide utopia type of social order. Marxists have tried, even some Christian groups have tried – but they have all failed. Only Christ can do that, and He will at His second coming. This bears repeating: only God can bring ultimate peace and justice to this world.
Eighth, we need to keep things in proper perspective. The world belongs to God, “who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). Again, Jeremiah teaches, “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37). I would also encourage you to meditate on Isaiah chapter 40.
The world, history, both small and large events all belong to God. The environment is His, as is the global population and global temperature. He has permitted Satan a limited degree of freedom in the world system, but soon he will be banished to his final place. But, only God can do that. God is not going to let puny humanity mess up His creation and plan for history.
Ninth, and this is a startling point. What good is it to heal, teach, feed, or put clothes on a man, but let his soul go to hell? Sure, we are to do good in the realm of influence that God has allotted us in this lifetime, but our ultimate concern should be the eternal destiny of human beings. We must keep first things first, and God has determined for His people what are the first (most important) things.
I hope this helps, John. I applaud your genuine interest in theology and the things of Christ. All the best to you, and God bless.
To give towards this ministry, click the DONATE button below and follow the prompts. You do NOT need a PayPal account to give. Newman Ministries International, Inc. is a registered non-profit organization 501(c)3, and your gifts are tax deductible as the law allows.