Praying While Looking Ahead

When I was in Bible College I worked in my home church's Christian Bookstore. It was around the time that some major events took place in the Christian publishing world. I can remember that The Living Bible and the New American Standard Bible were "new." We sold quite a few of both of these translations. But probably the biggest seller was Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth. Looking back, Lindsey's book was more sensational than scholarly, but I will give him credit for this: he raised people's awareness of Christ's return.

The church in which I grew up and the two churches in which I have served have all had a dispensational orientation. I can remember when my present church was involved with 7 or 8 other local churches in a Prophecy Conference. We had some of the finest pastors and teachers speak on things related to Bible prophecy. Of course there was the occasional sensationalist speaker, but in the main these men were simply trying to communicate the importance of eschatology.

I was reminded of that while continuing my reading of A Call to Spiritual Reformation. Carson writes:

We are losing our anticipation of the Lord's return, the anticipation that Paul shows is basic to his thought. Even though we do not disavow central truths, for many of us their power has been eviscerated. The prospect of the Lord's return in glory, the anticipation of the wrap-up of the universe as we know it, the confidence that there will be a final and irrevocable division between the just and the unjust - these have become merely credal points for us, instead of ultimate realities that even now are life transforming.

The loss is great. It means that instead of investing in the bank of heaven, where "moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:20), we may be seduced into devoting almost all of our time, energy, and money to the merely temporal and ephemeral.

He then asks:

When was the last time you heard a profoundly biblical and telling sermon on the second coming? (italics mine)

As he concludes this chapter, he shows how connected a commitment to eternity and Christian growth are. Again, highly recommended.


Bumble said...

Don't you think 2nd coming preaching should at least be scheduled annualy like stewardship too?

Peter Bogert said...

I think that if we faithfully preach from a variety of texts, it is inevitable that the topic will be covered. I've done series in 1 & 2 Peter, Ephesians and in 1 Thessalonians and have covered it in all three series.

But I think you are right, that we ought to make sure that we are preaching about it somewhere.