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Holding Your Eschatological Convictions with Grace

19 Feb

For quite some time, as a family, we have been reading Richard Belcher’s Theological Novels. We are nearly finished with A Journey in Eschatology.

Of the seven volumes read thus far, this has been the most challenging to read out loud to the family. The material presented is quite complex and thorough. Yet, the narrative storyline has been sufficiently interesting to keep the children’s attention. They regularly ask if we can read more!

I found the chapter titled “Can We Agree on the Second Coming?” very encouraging, challenging, and helpful.

“I suggested to him that we list some principles concerning the Second Coming of Chris that whereby Christians who hold various views could find strong agreement. I began to list them as follows:

  1. The doctrine of the Second Coming should cause our hearts to rejoice because we all would agree that Christ is coming back physically, bodily, visibly, suddenly, and gloriously.
  2. As we study this doctrine, we should focus on Him, and not on minute intricate details, demanding that all agree with us, or we will not fellowship with them.
  3. As we study this doctrine, we should study it humbly and graciously, not academically and theoretically, seeking to apply that which we learn to our hearts and lives in a manner that it will lead us to godly, Christ-like living.
  4. Thus we should be able to judge our hearts as to whether or not we are studying this doctrine correctly, as we see what attitude it is producing in us – humility, graciousness, love for Christ and others, worship, praise and adoration, or pride, sharpness of attitude, loss of love for Christ for others, division, grieving of the spirit of worship, and vile passions rather than godly passions.
  5. Thus we should be able to judge our actions to how this study affects us, as we see whether we have a pride of knowledge, longing to be able to out-argue others, become offended because others cannot see it the way we do, and feel a sense of superiority because we have it all put together (we think) in a fullness of knowledge from which others must draw and agree.
  6. Are there not some key ideas that all views should see alike and emphasize?
    1. Christ is the only Saviour and only Lord who will come back someday in power and great glory to defeat and judge all of His enemies with an eternal separation from Him, and to bless and reward all of His saints with an eternal presence with Him.
    2. God’s people in the meantime should live holy and godly lives preaching the truth to every creature and to every corner of the earth whether the lost world around us receives or rejects the gospel, or whether they receive or reject us or even kill us.
    3. God’s people should be ready and watching for His coming, because it will make no difference if we are perfect in our interpretation of Biblical prophecy if we are not read for His coming. All the expertise and knowledge will be to no avail, if we are found wanting in the day of His coming.
    4. The enemy is the devil, not other Christians, and our energy and efforts should be forged against him, not against other Christians with whom we may disagree in these areas of Bible prophecy.
  7. That there are some views that would set one in a camp of heresy, such as the following, though we cannot possibly give a complete list:
    1. To deny Christ is coming back.
    2. To deny Christ is coming back bodily.
    3. To deny Christi is coming back victoriously over all His enemies whether men or angels or demons, whether Satan and all his power.
    4. To believe that anyone can state the day or the hour [of His return].
    5. To believe that His coming will not include the resurrection of lost to their eternal damnation nor the resurrection of the saved to their glorification and His eternal presence.”

I happily & heartedly commend this entire series to everyone and every family!

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