Colts, Calvinists, and Eschatology
Around here, the talk in May focuses on the 500. But this time of year (at least since the arrival of Peyton Manning) the talk is about the Colts. They are off to a 5-0 start, but the fans and sports writers are not particularly happy. The games have been close, with more than one come from behind win. This morning I read an interesting theory from one local sports writer - they're bored.
Why? Because they know that no matter how well they do in the regular season, if they don't win (or at least go to) the Super Bowl, the season will be viewed as a failure. In other words, right now doesn't count because they are looking toward a major event in the future.
Combine this with a complaint I hear frequently in Southern Baptist (SBC) circles. That complaint is that Calvinists care more about converting believers to Calvinism than the lost to Christ. I (and most of you) know that this is straw man, but the unfortunate truth is that we have some Reformed brethren who at least tend to act like this is true (the flip side of this coin is that many of those who make this claim against Calvinists seem more intent on "stopping the spread of Calvinism" than in seeing people come to Christ).
But there has been in some circles a tendency in looking toward the Second Coming to shut down. While this is possible for any eschatological position (much less likely, perhaps, for post-millennialism), it seems most problematic for some fringe elements of the pre-tribulational rapture position. Let me be clear that this is not the case with most proponents of this position including prominent dispensationalists like John Macarthur.
Perhaps the most well-known examples fall outside of orthodox Christianity to a cult, the Jehovah's Witnesses. Previous predictions of the return of Christ saw members sell all their goods and begin a vigil. Disappointment eventually ensued when the predicted return did not occur.
In more (or less) orthodox Christian circles there have been two major examples in the last 20 years or so. The first was the publication of "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988" by Edgar Whisenant. Conservative Christianity broadly rejected this, and other attempts at date setting, but he drew a lot of attention and some followers. Next was the Y2K scare that had many convinced civilization would collapse. Can goods and water were stored in mass quantities as people waited for the end to begin.
You and Me
But my question is has this attitude infected us all to some extent? Is one of the reasons we are not effective now is that we are bored with the here and now? Are we so focused on the future, the return of Christ, that we are not fulfilling the commission to take the gospel to the world? Or is it simply that we have become too comfortable in the here and now that we neither focus on the future nor on fulfilling the Great Commission?
I can't answer that question for you. I hope that you are one of the neither/nor's. Instead you have one eye on the prize, pressing on like the Apostle Paul. But like Paul you are also spending your life to see the Kingdom grow. That you, in word and deed, are proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
For myself, I don't think I'm bored looking for the future, but too frequently I'm just bored. I have too much and the comforts of this life have grown tiresome. Maybe that's a hopeful sign for the future, but I fear it is a sorrowful sign of the past. A bluesman, Keb Mo', has written that we are "Victims of Comfort." I think (fear) that fits me. So maybe I need to go back to an older song, a CCM song of years gone by, by Margret Becker titled "Find Me". Part of the lyrics include:
I'm gonna give away my stereo,
Give away my TV.
I'm going back to essentials, a chair and a lamp,
And the Book that You wrote for me.
Sounds extreme in our culture. And for reasons too involved for a blog I can't actually throw out the TV or the stereo. But maybe I can personally get back to the essentials. I recognize the need to eliminate some distractions from my life. To simplify.
I'm not saying that TV is wrong. In your life it may be a fine way to relax. For you, the distractions may be something different entirely. But God and Christ have to be the priority in my life. If I can make that happen and keep up with Lost, great. If not, there is only one option.