Tuesday, February 24, 2009

3) Idealism (Esch 304)

Idealism interprets most of the prophecies as being fulfilled throughout the history of the church, but in a general way, not in specific events.

We are not to look for a chronology in prophecy because the purpose of prophecy is to communicate general ideas, not specific events. The great tribulation, the millennium, and the antichrist are being fulfilled throughout church history.

Hence, we ought not look for a specific period of great tribulation. Rather, the entire church age is a period of great tribulation for the church.

Likewise, Idealists believe that Revelation and other prophecies teach general truths about how the church is persecuted. So, rather than looking for a specific person to identify as the antichrist or the beast, Idealists believe that these are general terms for evil and opposition to Christ.

The vivid descriptions of seals and trumpets and bowls are descriptions of the spiritual warfare that takes place in the heavens between angels.

The attractiveness of Idealism is that it focuses on Jesus Christ, rather than obsessing over the latest theories on who the antichrist is. Idealism is the majority position in the PCA and most Reformed churches. Kim Riddlebarger and Michael Horton are two of the most well-known Idealists.

The weakness of Idealism is in over-generalizing the Scriptures and missing the intended meaning of specific referents. While we will not be giving a full critique of Idealism, we will, from time to time, point to some Scriptures that do not seem to fit well with Idealism.

1 comment:

Frontier Forest said...

Idealism, now there is a new term I have never heard of! Remember Pastor Eric, I am a Reformist in training. Takes a long time to shed 33 years of Armenian theology and Baptist doctrine.