I instinctively avoided taking a clear stance on a particular view of eschatology for many years. This was primarily due to my love for the whole Body of Christ and my awareness that sincere believers hold to quite divergent views of the specifics of eschatology or "matters regarding the very end". Furthermore, I have held the conviction that there is "so much more" to the transforming power and ramifications of the First Coming of Christ that we haven't experienced or explored, that getting caught up in frustrating and potentially divisive disagreements with each other about the Second Coming is counter-productive to our values and mission. I believe that our convictions about the Second Coming are important and have many practical implications for how we live out our faith. However, I also believe that this area of theology, within certain parameters, is secondary to the essential matters pertaining to the Good News of Jesus. As believers, we have so much we can agree upon and the cultures at large are watching if and how well we love one another.
Among "Jesus-loving", "Jesus-following", "Bible-believing" people and groups there are 4 primary views of eschatology that are held and taught. I think it is important for all of us to know the broad strokes of each view and "make space" for empathetic dialogue, discussion and even charitable debate on the various views. One of the reasons I want to write about this topic is to advocate for creating such learning environments in our communities of faith.
In my first blog on this topic, I already referred to the most popular view in American church culture, and revealed a few reasons why I disagree with much of it. It's typically called "dispensational premillennialism". This view has gotten most of the public attention and press regarding eschatology over the last century. Many groups that hold to it, do so with dramatic zeal, thus the publicity, and make its acceptance central to their belief system. Of course, there are other church cultures that do the same with their particular eschatology. Another view is "historic premillennialism". A third view is called "postmillennialism". And a final primary view is usually called "amillennialism". In a future blog, I will outline each of these views and point out some comparisons and contrasts that I believe people need to notice.
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Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.