Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Culture and Eschatology (Part Two)

The cultural perspective of the OT is one of cultural transparency. The nation of Israel as a closed society established by God to reach the nations. They did not self-consciously develop Hebrew culture, but that is what happened.

The cultural perspective of the NT is one of cultural antithesis. The apostles urged believers to avoid the world (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15) and warned that the things of the world could be a dangerous distraction (Matthew 13:22; Luke 18:22).

Unfortunately, some have taken this to mean that believers should withdraw from cultural endeavors as much as possible. We see this in ascetic traditions, such as monasticism or even American evangelicalism.

However, the danger of the “world” in the Bible is not the danger of the physical earth. The “world” refers to the whole sinful social order that is a systematic rebellion against God.

The apostles urged Christians not to be conformed to the common beliefs and values of pagan society, but rather, to have the totality of their thoughts shaped by the doctrines of Scriptures alone (Romans 12:2).

The Bible consistently teaches that the physical things of this world are good and to be enjoyed within the bounds of God’s law.

NT writers were not opposing the OT cultural model. They were not advocating withdrawal from culture. There is a change in OT to NT because OT was a closed society, whereas the NT urges us to go out into society to transform it.

As we conclude our series on eschatology, we can see at least three major goals that we hope have been accomplished.

1) Unlock the Bible

2) Love God and marvel at his intricate yet cohesive plan

3) Embrace every task that God has for you to do

We need to understand that this is precisely how we live now. Everything that we do matters. Everything that we do in the present has an effect on the future. We do not know how, but we do know that everything we do matters.


Frontier Forest said...

This has been a fascinating and stimulating journey. And I thank Pastor Tony for suggesting your blog to me. You know my cousin, Doug Woodward is writing a book on Eschatology. Even though he is writing from a dispensational slant, your blog and Pastor Tony’s comments have been very helpful. For more marketing appeal, Doug changed the title of the book from “Eschatology 101” to “In the Last Days,” subtitled “Competing Christian Perspectives on the Coming Apocalypse.”
I have proofed most of the book and must say, he has made many very good points towards dispensational theology, and most importantly remained objective, sharing support towards other views. I will keep you posted on its release date. If you will send me your email, I will send you the draft and the cover page.

Optamill said...

I miss your comments. Will you begin writing again soon?

Eric Adams said...

Finished eschatology for now. Hope to start on some new stuff in the fall. Thanks for reading.

Folken Family said...

I think you hit it on the head here.

The creation was good as God called it good. The world refers to the fallen system that is driven by lust. God still loves the people in the world though (John 3:16)

The interior work of God in the heart moves us from a lust driven life to a love driven life. The fruit of the Spirit is love... etc.