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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition 2000

Biblical Eschatology And Liberalism: The Defining Issues

    Biblical theologian Geerhardus Vos once wrote that: "Eschatology has become the large mountain of offense lying across the pathway of modern unbelief." What did he mean by that statement?

    He meant, I believe, that the origins of nearly all the schools of modern "liberal" theology owe their existence to a reaction against the dilemma of the perceived failure of Christ's second coming. In other words, all these schools of liberal theology are ideological and philosophical attempts to explain why Jesus did not come back in the first century, as certain texts in the New Testament would seem to indicate.

    Liberal theology assumes that Jesus was wrong, and the New Testament was mistaken on the core issues of Christ's coming and his kingdom. Thus, the attempt to variously "reinterpret" historic Christianity in order to alleviated the rational problem of incongruence between the human perception and the historical reality.

    Both Darbyism, or dispensational premillennialism,  and radical preterism (which says that all of biblical eschatology was fulfilled in 70 A.D.) are, contrary to the modern received perception, also theological systems that attempt to deal with these same problems of rationality and history. We contend that both of these schools, in their attempts to bridge the mind chasm here, end up in fiction.

    Radical preterists claim that the second coming of Jesus Christ already happened in 70 AD, and that no further fulfillments in terms of a so-called "second coming" are to be expected. Radical preterism, however, has the rational problem of historical evidence and proof.

    Darbyites posit a scenario of fictional events into the future that they fail to convincingly demonstrate is taught in the Word of God- This is also a problem of cognition and reason.

    Both of the above schools rely on what is common to all the rest of liberal theology, and that is subjectivity. The defining issue in biblical eschatology and liberalism, then, is what can objectively satisfy both history and rationality—not in the carnal sense of human reasoning and understanding alone, but in that spiritual sense of human reason sanctified by the Holy Spirit and enlightened by the Word of Truth.

    In true Bible holiness the mind, as well as the spirit, soul, and body is entirely sanctified, and the blessed Spirit guides into all truth. Let us remember this: "Holiness is harmonizing," not only in experience, but in theology as well.

    Heart holiness is the only successful antidote to humanistic theology! Those who oppose the biblical teaching on heart holiness will always be skewed in their philosophical orientation to biblical eschatology.

    The Bible itself is very clear in all that is essential to our redemption,  even though, as it says, some elements of the apocalyptic understanding have been "sealed" until the end of time.

When that end-time comes, however, why should it be unreasonable to expect that an apocalyptic unsealing of those mysteries should occur? 

    The enlongated last half of Daniel's 70th week to embrace the entire period of time now stretching between Christ's first and second advents, we affirm, is the central  element of that unsealing. If  accepted, this insight prempts and pulls the plug on the necessity to adopt a liberal view of eschatology.

    The "large mountain of offence lying across the pathway of modern unbelief" that Geerhardus Vos described has been removed! Liberal explanations of the apocalyptic mysteries--now that the "unsealing" process is beginning to occur--are as unnecessary, henceforth, as they are, and always have been, wrong.

There is no longer any need to be a liberal, believing either Darbyism, or radical preterism, or any of the other multifaceted  "neo-orthodox" or existentialistic theories regarding the meaning of the apocalyptic portions of Holy Scripture, all of which, we affirm,  are unsatisfactory explanations of the true biblical eschatology.

    Fundamentalism, for the first time ever, has now hit upon the right solution to the eschatological dilemma--the one that truly resonates, both with historical reality, divine revelation, and human reason.

The stumbling block that pushes the modern church toward liberalism has been removed! Biblical fundamentalism, now at last, has come of age!

    Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Related Article Links

An Open Letter To A Radical Preterist
How Dispensationalism Has Led The Modern Holiness Movement Into Liberalism

Reinventing Fundamentalism--In The Wesleyan Mode