The Great Escape

August 27, 2006

“God takes account of how we live for Him in the here and now. Today counts forever. If the early Christians had only been concerned about heaven, then there would have been little need for Rome to deal with Christians like Paul. But the early church believed in God and history, heaven and earth, this age and the age to come. This is why Paul and his followers were considered a threat. If he had only been “other worldly” where the only legitimate sphere of Christian activity was heaven, then Rome would have dismissed him and others like him as religious mystics. But the gospel Paul preached forced men and women to choose sides, and the choice of sides had an effect on the world in which they lived.”

Another excellent article by Gary DeMar  on how Christians cannot espouse an escapist eschatology and call it biblical.

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6 Responses to “The Great Escape”

  1. Ron Says:

    Sounds like someone needs to read Jesus’ response to Pilate in the GoJ.

  2. Rob Says:

    Ron,

    I wonder why you say this. Is it because of the “My kingdom is not from this world?” I don’t see how that statement clashes with the article cited above. Jesus means that his kingdom is not from this world in the sense that his followers do not fight to establish him as king. It’s not the kind of political overthrow that many Jews desired, but it doesn’t mean that Christ’s kingdom is otherworldly.

  3. -mike- Says:

    Ron sounds like a bit of a heavyweight. Random commenter though… it was kind of stupid, honestly.

    All due respect, Ron!

    No. The statement doesn’t clash. That has nothing to do with the future but a basic metaphysical reality: heaven is not earth. They aren’t the same (pantheism or panentheism) nor are they seperated (deism) They connect and intertwine in various places at various times in various ways. The idea of the eucharist is one thing… (kyle will surely have something to say on that)

  4. Q Says:

    Wright deals with that interpretation by insisting that ek must be translated “from”, not “of”.

    Jesus kingdom is not from this world. That is, it would not come into effect by worldly efforts (military acts, as Rob rightly points out).

    But Jesus’ kingdom is of the world: i.e., it has implications for our conduct in this world, per DeMar’s argument.

  5. Kyle Says:

    Yah, ditto Q on that one. We must not forget that Jesus was executed as an insurrectionist. Living in the Empire was and is a holistic matter. Whether or not one accepts Caesar’s claims to be the ultimate authority changes everything. The Christians relativized Caesar’s claims in light of Jesus. That made them dangerous. The idea of a “spiritual” sphere that’s separate from one’s public life is a very recent invention, and the very notion that Jesus could have espoused some kind of quietist apolitical way of life is anachronistic at best, and just a piece of eisegesis at worst.

    And really, a backhanded remark that Rob doesn’t read the Bible enough isn’t the same as just saying, “How do you deal with Jesus’ answer to Pilate?” One is honest, and the other is rude.

  6. Byron Says:

    Yeah, once again what I was about to say has already been said by Q and Kyle… Oh well… go team!


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