Best Way to Go About Studying Eschatology

Discussion in 'Dispensationalism' started by carlosstjohn, Dec 28, 2015.

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  1. carlosstjohn

    carlosstjohn Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey guys! Gotta question for yall.

    I am starting to become more interested in landing on an eschatological view. However, as you know, the relationship on Church and Israel is very important in eschatology.

    Do you guys think it is easier to:

    1) determine your view of church and Israel and then try to study the different eschatology views and base your view off your predetermined view of church and Israel (I.E. Figure out church and Israel and then eschatology)

    2) determine your view of eschatology first and then mold your view of church and Israel to that prescribed view of eschatology?


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  2. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Graduate

    Your best bet is to get a strong grasp of the over-all flow of redemptive history and these issues will fall into place. Reading the historical narrative of the scriptures along with a study of either covenant theology (I'm partial to OP Robertson though you'll get some debate here on that) or Biblical theology ( G.Vos) will get you there. If you set out to decide your position, you'll end up prooftexting. If you have any questions on specific passages, you'll get some great recommendations for resources here on the board.
     
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Perhaps, rather than beginning by keying one particular theological datum to eschatology (as your binary options suggest), and trying to decide if eschatology fundamentally answers or is answered by that issue; it might be better to seek an answer apart from assuming the centrality of "the relationship on Church and Israel."

    And maybe my proposal itself reveals a prejudice.

    Regarding the issue: "the relationship on Church and Israel," I would say the concern is peculiarly dispensational, or rather essentially dispensational. The matter of eschatology is not the only biblical doctrine that is impinged by such a commitment. In dispensationalism, not every doctrine or Bible study feels the weight of this question equally, but it always remains an element in the equation. Eschatology is simply one locus where the matter bursts to the front in dispensational thought.

    The reason it is so pervasive is: "the relationship on Church and Israel" is of fundamental importance to dispensational hermeneutics generally. There is an essential divide down near the foundation of the practice, between what we might broadly term "historically Protestant" hermeneutics, and "dispensational" hermeneutics.

    The historic Protestant position, found in most of the major historically confessional branches now transplanted on this continent (e.g. Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed/Presbyterian, English Baptist) is that the Bible has one, unique focus. That focus, from start to finish, is Redemption in Christ. Dispensationalism--perhaps not alone in church history, but certainly notably within evangelicalism in the last two centuries--introduces a second focus parallel to Christ in Scripture. Scripture, in dispensationalism, is as much a witness to the mission(s) of Man as it is a witness to the mission of Christ.

    If the purpose of Israel as a distinct nation in the earth is wholly subservient to the redemptive work of Christ, and if His mission was an unqualified success, then the matter of defining "the relationship on Church and Israel" fades to a secondary interest (at least as far as eschatology is concerned). I would say, that in spite of everything Sin and Satan introduced to derail the event, Christ triumphed in history; ergo, Israel's-as-a-nation unique mission is fulfilled. And all men (OT or NT) find the fulfillment of their personal mission in saving union with Christ.

    I haven't heard everything, I'm sure. But what I have heard from dispensational quarters--concerning the "future of Israel"--is essentially unrelated to the bringing about of Redemption in Christ. Instead, it is about fulfilling of purposes for Man (specifically the ethno-Israeli distinction within the human race). Israel's national purposes. Non-redemptive purposes. Purposes terminating in putative secular, sensual benefits enjoyed by Man. Thus, the Bible is found to have two foci: Christ, and national Israel. The first-derivative structure of the Bible is an ellipse, not a circle, in dispensationalism.


    I don't necessarily think of your two choices as "easier/harder." I think the first fits better with a person who has self-conscious hermeneutical awareness. The second option fits the student whose mind (conscious and subconscious) is being formed by the rudiments of Scripture as they are delivered to him in orderly fashion by teachers--both in person and in books.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  4. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    Church-Israel relation is important, but it doesn't force any issue. I am a premmil but I reject Dispie claims on Israel. So I don't see a universal logical connection.
     
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