doomsday theology

The Sky is Falling!

Recently I was sitting around a table with a few faithful saints who had been scared spitless by a popular tv preacher. “Prophecy is lining up, there’s not much hope for this old world,” one said sadly and with a lot of fear in her voice.

Just last week a Bible school graduate asked me how she could convince her parents to stay engaged in life because, “They’ve been told to give up because the world’s such a wicked place that all we can do is wait for Jesus to return.”

A talented young writer and friend who serves a church in Oregon just finished a piece that I feel speaks to this dangerous excess of eschatology (sorry, theology-speak for prophecy.)

Doomsday Theology

I subscribe to Tyler Braun’s blog Man of Depravity, here are some paragraphs from his latest piece on this excess he identifies as Doomsday Theology:

“I’ve noticed a common denominator in conversations surrounding me, and conversations I’ve been invited into as well: they start with a current event, and they end with a Christian’s worry about the future. “If things are this bad now, can you imagine how bad they’re going to get?”

I call this Doomsday Theology. It’s the theology imploring for Jesus to return now because things are horrible around here. It’s the theology saying the church is under attack and we must be prepared for the war. It’s the theology saying this is all going to hell in a hand basket.

And I don’t want to mince words, I hate it, the whole thing.

Yes, I want Jesus to come again. And yes, some things are simply awful. You don’t even need to look hard to find plenty of those awful things.

But Doomsday Theology misses a vital aspect of the Biblical narrative, one that takes place long before the bulk of the eschatological writings within the apocalyptic genre.

Often a focus on end times theology (eschatology) can breed an insular attitude toward the world, where we must protect ourselves from the evil around us so we don’t get swept into it. The beauty of the incarnation is that God saw our brokenness and sent his son toward us, not away from us. Eschatology that encourages believers to enter into the brokenness of the world is helpful, anything else is knowledge that when focused on too much, can lead us astray, in part.

Outside of the negative Doomsday Theology often produces in its adherents, there are two more positive reasons to avoid the “it’s all going to hell in a handbasket” perspective.”

Tyler goes on convincingly by identifying two positive and biblically precise reasons we should live on the hopeful side of history because we’re thinking biblically rather than hysterically. ⇦Tweet that!

He concludes with this advice:

“Christians have far too much Kingdom work to be doing now to spend their time and energy getting caught up in a game of fear mongering of what potential evil may overtake us. The evil will not win, but even more, evil loses its foothold when we keep our hand to the plow.”

We have to view world events with perspective.

Like believers of every century, we have to see our small trials as a part of the big struggle of the birthing and ultimate establishment of the kingdom of God. There is something to do today to be a part of that story.

We cannot figure out history but God already has.

To find peace in dark days, don’t look for a way out of the darkness.

Invade the darkness with the light of Christ’s love.