I grew up in Southern Baptist churches, so Premillennial Dispensationalism is deeply ingrained in my belief system. Except I'm not sure I believe it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a brief explanation from Infogalactic Planetary Knowledge Core:
Premillennialism, in Christian eschatology, is the belief that Jesus will physically return to the earth before the Millennium, a literal thousand-year golden age of peace. This return is referred to as the Second Coming. The doctrine is called "premillennialism" because it holds that Jesus' physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the Millennium. It is distinct from the other forms of Christian eschatology such as postmillennialism or amillennialism, which view the millennial rule as occurring either before the second coming, or as being figurative and non-temporal. For the last century, the belief has been common in Evangelicalism according to surveys on this topic.
Premillennialism is based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1–6 in the New Testament, which describes Jesus' coming to the earth and subsequent reign at the end of an apocalyptic period of tribulation. It views this future age as a time of fulfillment for the prophetic hope of God's people as given in the Old Testament. Others, such as many (but not all) in the Eastern Orthodox communion, claim that this passage of Revelation describes the present time, when Christ reigns in Heaven with the departed saints; such an interpretation views the symbolism of Revelation as referring to a spiritual battle rather than a physical battle on earth.
My problem is I've never heard a convincing interpretation of what those passages mean. Obviously, tribulations have already happened, but which one was The Tribulation? No one has been able to explain that to me.
But the reason I have trouble buying into the view is how it incentivizes withdrawal from society and abdication of the responsibility to build a world for future Christians. Clearly those who built the Christian West did not believe that things were going to get worse and worse before Christ returns. Otherwise, they wouldn't have bothered.
Or am I wrong to assume that? Very few, if any, of the Southern Baptists I grew up with used their eschatology as an excuse to live for the moment. They all worked hard to provide for their families. Most were well informed on political issues and favored at least some involvement in the process. The big glaring exception, however, would be culture. Christian culture in the modern era is an embarrassing ghetto.
How can you build a future without culture? How could Christians, American Christians especially, let the culture slip away like it has unless they simply don't care about it? And how could they not care about it unless they think it's unimportant given the inevitable erosion described by their eschatology?
Now, lest you implode within your own smugness as one who subscribes to a different view, you haven't done any better. The culture is still rotten despite the fact that Premillennial Dispensationalists are a tiny minority. Where have all the smart Christians been? If you understand these things so well, why haven't you built a lasting edifice that would prevent what we're seeing today?
None of my questions are rhetorical.
My Mind is Clean