Post-mortem destination, or poverty?

September 15, 2006

Chris links to a great post here. Here’s an excerpt:

During the course of the century, liberal churches experienced substantial decline while conservative evangelical and pentecostal movements, focused on local church growth and preaching a message concerned with the eternal state of the soul, grew rapidly.  Various elements of traditional theology fed their preoccupation with the eternal and their prevailing indifference to the situation of the poor.  Developing premillennialist eschatology’s, conservative Christians read world events through literalistic interpretations of biblical apocalyptic literature, looking forward to the immanent return of Jesus which was to be accompanied by the rapture of the saints and subsequent global devastation.  While acting as a motivating force for missionary activity, premillennial pessimism has been blamed for the tendency of evangelical and pentecostal churches to ignore the social responsibility of the church.

I know I rail on this often, but when the premillenialism escapism gets so deeply rooted in the church, the result is an unbalanced focus on the eternal plight of the individual, and not on the basic necessities of mankind that God desires all men should have, such as food and shelter and so forth.
Let us not forget what the Lord asked us to pray for:

“Give us this day our daily bread.” While many of us are prone to read this as a sort of spiritual nourishment (not discounting that interpretation), the original audience would have heard this as referring to actual food, the stuff on which we survive. And while we in America and other prosperous nations don’t have this particular need often because we are so blessed with food, other nations are not. And we as Christians must be doing our job to feed the poor and demand justice from our leadership and governments.

Anyway that’s my premillenial abuse rant for the day. While I’m on that, let me plug The Hunger Site again. Please try to visit daily and contribute to the number of sources there.

Good link, Chris, and have a blessed weekend, everyone.

One Response to “Post-mortem destination, or poverty?”

  1. Blaming lack of social aid on dualist anthropology is really stupid and an unjustified low blow. Frankly, if Plato, ever the popular scapegoat to misrepresent alongside Paul, was so apathetic about such things, he wouldn’t have written his blueprint for a utopian society in The Republic, nor indeed followed Socrates who made moral issues his key focus (with the existence of The God and nature of life after death functioning as related sub-questions). Indeed, Plato is the one who argued that the gloomy afterlife of Homer (much more the no afterlife of Democritus and later Epicurus) should be censored on the grounds that people would have no reason to behave as good and just citizens if thats all they had to look forward to.

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