Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Further Thoughts on 'Future Israel' IV
In conclusion, while we appreciated Dr. Horner's concern for the Jewish people, and that Christians have all too often projected an attitude that seemed anti-Jewish, we found his insistence on a pre-millennial eschatology as the only way in which this attitude can be corrected narrow and historically inaccurate. His failure to deal with the question before the Reformation would have been less obvious had he not devoted about a page to it, a page that did not prove that anyone in that period held anything like his view, but only his ipse dixit that such a position existed (it seems to us that he was projecting a post-Reformation view back before the Reformation).
We find it rather ironic that Dr. Horner and his ilk believe that the best spur to Jewish evangelism is a theology that despairs of winning large numbers of Jewish people for Christ, and that the Second Advent of Christ will be a glorious evangelistic visit, not a coming in glory to judge the living and the dead. Our theology, on the other hand, is that the present means, given by God, are sufficient for the work that He has given, to disciple all nations (including the Jews). No doubt our Dispensationalist brethren will be outraged at this, for their theology is one of failure (though maybe there are some now who cling to the name but have abandoned even the dictum that 'all dispensations end in failure), and the few remaining Bullingerites (for hyper-dispensationalist E.W. Bullinger, not the Reformer of the same name) will gravely tell us that this Great Commission is not for the Church, but for the future Jewish remnant (we shall tell them exactly what we think of their muddle-headed theology). We prefer to think that the Holy Spirit is in fact stronger than Satan, and is able to accomplish His purposes in the earth.
As we have said, we are not liberal post-millennialists, we do not expect the power and wisdom of man to establish the Millennium (indeed, we expect the wisdom of man to lead to the great rebellion at the end of the MIllennium), and we do not expect this old world to be perfected before the coming of Our Lord. But we do expect that He will build His Church, and will engraft the Jews in His own time.
We look for the Millennium to be a period of great Gospel-prosperity upon the earth, and a time when the nations shall be disciples of Christ. Not that all will be Christians indeed, for there will remain some of the leaven of hypocrisy, but still, we expect greater things than we see now. We are persuaded that the present time is not the 'life from the dead' which shall follow the restoration of Israel.
This is our 'Millennial Manifesto'. It will no doubt shock all those trained in the hermeneutic of failure, but we are persuaded that the Bible holds forth a great outpouring of the Spirit of God that is yet to come. At the same time we are persuaded from the plain Scripture that the Second Advent will not usher in a new day of grace, but the final state. That state will not be a platonic disembodied existence, but an embodied existence in a new universe that shall, in some sense, be much like this one, only fully purified and freed from the bondage of sin. This old earth will be renewed, re-forged in fire, and will be the dwelling-pace of God and man for ever. So we believe, and so we preach.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen