Does The Church Err by "Jumping the Gun"?

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ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
My pastor and I were discussing this topic on Saturday, and I found it very interesting.

*To avoid beating dead horses, I must preface this post by saying this discussion is geared towards Presbyterians. Please do not turn this into a Baptism or church government debate.*

Consider this:

It appears many of the areas where the churches err is over the “now and not yet” dichotomy. My pastor and I looked briefly at some of the disagreements among Protestant denominations as well as Non-protestant denominations and interesting enough those churches in error are indeed right (per se) IF the Church were functioning at the time of consummation. So in a way, the church errs when she tries to “jump the gun” in implementing the eternal state before Christ returns.

One example and what brought this topic up was the teaching my pastor gave to the men in our church on the existing form of leadership in the church in comparison to the eternal form of leadership at the consummation. Christ left us with leaders; those who will be qualified to teach and shepherd His flock. In the eternal state, all God’s people will meet the qualifications for leaders and we will all be governed under an Episcopalian type rule or in other words a Benevolent Monarchy. That is, God is our King and as far as leaders go, “no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 31:34). With this said, it can be seen how Rome errs with their Pope. Rome jumps the gun in a way by creating a head of the church now instead of waiting for the “not yet” when God shall be our lone king and leader.

Another example would be the ever-so-controversial baptism issue. God commands His church to teach and baptize the visible church, thus believers and their households. In the consummation we will all be credo-only Baptists (again – per se) for only the true elect will be present with God in His kingdom. With this said, it can be seen how the credo-only Baptists errs by attempting to baptize only the invisible church which they cannot see.

Any thoughts? Can you think of any other errors within the church that are a result of “jumping the gun” by making the ‘not yet’ now?

A way of looking at this is to list the doctrinal positions that the Church should hold to now and then (or first which may be easier) list the doctrinal positions of the Church as if the Church were in her final state in glory.

Soon and very soon, we shall all be Episcopalian Credo-Only Baptists speaking in spiritual tongues while Christ is at His table drinking the fruit of the vine directly with His people and only His people. :)
 

Philip A

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think you're dead on. Credobaptism, pentecostalism, the "Victorious Christian life", theonomy, etc. all seem to be the result of this over-realized eschatology.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't think that it is that easy. It isn't just a matter of 'jumping the gun' on eschatology, it seems to me. It has more to do with imposing upon Scripture interpretations that are not solidly true, but that depend upon man's insights. There's a lot that we really don't need for life and godliness, but people have it in their heads that they need to speculate on some things first, make their decisions on those matters, and then stand their theology on those decisions.

I believe the Bible is objective. There is no 'jumping the gun' necessary; nor is there a need to speculate first. So it is my belief that the problem lies in not being able to see the revelation of God's Word as an objective revelation; that something from man has to be added to, or superimposed upon, or be a precondition to, the texts. That's why you have all these 'jumping the gun' differences, it seems to me.

I hope I didn't jump the gun or anything else.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
With totalitarian states on the horizon, the threat of Islam to all civilization, suspension of political liberties our Reformed forefathers died to secure (read non-Theonomist Doug Kelly if you don't believe me), I am always amused (at best) when people locate the danger as "triumphalism" or over-realized eschatology. The eschatology of the reformed church today is anything but over-realized.
 

Philip A

Puritan Board Sophomore
With totalitarian states on the horizon, the threat of Islam to all civilization, suspension of political liberties our Reformed forefathers died to secure (read non-Theonomist Doug Kelly if you don't believe me), I am always amused (at best) when people locate the danger as "triumphalism" or over-realized eschatology. The eschatology of the reformed church today is anything but over-realized.

I'm not sure we're talking in the same context; the examples that CP gave were with regard to Rome and the babdists, and that's the area in which my comments were directed (especially since the latter is where I happen to be stuck at the moment). Of course, I'm not postmill or theonomist, so even our views of the eschatology of the Reformed churches would likely be different. But in babdist circles, and my church in particular, there is definitely an over-realized eschatology, and in particular, I think that is driving not only the credobaptism, but the higher-life bent of the church, and its anti-OT stance.

I'm not quite tracking what you mean by your examples; how should those factors influence our view of how much is already and how much is not yet?
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Sorry, Jacob. That was a mistake on my part. I didn't mean to focus this just on eschatological speculations on the millennium. There are other things too, such as the dire need to speak in tongues, be bitten by serpents, and so on. I understand your alarm, for I share that same fear that evil forces are taking over.

So I'm sorry if you got the wrong idea.

I was trying to get across that people have a tendency to focus on everything else or anything else, but you just can't get them to focus on the thing that the Bible gives as necessary. I think of it as the 'magnets effect': trying to get south to south and north to north; the magnets will do anything but that, for they absolutely refuse to go north to north and south to south. You can chase them all over the table, but you just can't get them together south to south and north to north. That's how our sinful and depraved nature is to true righteousness; they'll go together in any way you please except the way they should. That is, until Christ does the impossible (impossible for us) by removing the impediments to reconciliation.

Chris is on to somthing, I think, but I think it is more fundamental than that. I've always viewed the weakness of Pentecostalism as the truth about Pentecost, the weakness of Full Gospel as the truth about the full gospel, etc. Just the point they champion is also their weak point. I don't mind challenging them head on. But in order to do so I need to have first things first in my own faith. And the Bible tells us what is necessary. The Bible does not leave those things that we need to our speculations. In that sense they 'jump the gun', but that is not the most basic problem.

On the other hand, he is assuming, it seems to me, that each of these believer groups that he mentions are actually believers, whose sins have been forgiven, but who nevertheless 'jump the gun' on matters that are open to different views. In that sense I agree with him.

But it still narrows down to getting priorities mixed up, it seems to me.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I'm not sure we're talking in the same context; the examples that CP gave were with regard to Rome and the babdists, and that's the area in which my comments were directed (especially since the latter is where I happen to be stuck at the moment). Of course, I'm not postmill or theonomist, so even our views of the eschatology of the Reformed churches would likely be different. But in babdist circles, and my church in particular, there is definitely an over-realized eschatology, and in particular, I think that is driving not only the credobaptism, but the higher-life bent of the church, and its anti-OT stance.

I'm not quite tracking what you mean by your examples; how should those factors influence our view of how much is already and how much is not yet?

You lumped theonomy in your examples, so in some sense you are talking about theonomy.

How do my examples fit? Well, I was sensing this was going to be another post on how, among other things, theonomy gets it wrong with its over-realized eschatology. I certainly don't want to derail the thread, but if theonomy is put in the same category of pentecostalism and the higher-lfie movement, then I feel I must correct that category error.

So how do my examples fit? Well, if this thread isn't about theonomy then I won't bother with them. They were meant to debunk a certain point.
 

Philip A

Puritan Board Sophomore
You lumped theonomy in your examples, so in some sense you are talking about theonomy.

How do my examples fit? Well, I was sensing this was going to be another post on how, among other things, theonomy gets it wrong with its over-realized eschatology. I certainly don't want to derail the thread, but if theonomy is put in the same category of pentecostalism and the higher-lfie movement, then I feel I must correct that category error.

So how do my examples fit? Well, if this thread isn't about theonomy then I won't bother with them. They were meant to debunk a certain point.

You're right, I did lump that in; perhaps I was too hasty. Some of what I've heard from that side of the house (not you in particular) seems to fit in the same category, but I'm not so convinced of the ubiquity of my observation so as to contest your objection, so I'm willing to concede that it's too simplistic a categorization. The main discussion of the thread is a helpful one and I wouldn't want to derail it further.
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
I preached a sermon recently about the difference in practical emphasis between a Post-Mil position and an Amil position.

It seems fairly clear to me that my Post-Mil brethren place the emphasis of their eschatological hope on the 'Christianization of the Nations' while my Amil brethren place the emphasis of their eschatological hope on the second coming of Christ.

As soon as I point out this fact, I anticipate the response of my Post-Mil brethren…"Nay Nay Nay!!! You fail to see our position correctly!!!". To which I respond, my bretheren, you know a tree by its fruit. When the vast preponderance of your talk and sermons dealing with our future hope focus on the Christianization of the nations and not upon the coming of Christ, I must concur with my prior thoughts.

And to my theonomic reconstuctionist bretheren, well, I suppose I have said enough but I notice this nifty emoticon on this board which I am sure will make you smile. :judge:
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I preached a sermon recently about the difference in practical emphasis between a Post-Mil position and an Amil position.

It seems fairly clear to me that my Post-Mil brethren place the emphasis of their eschatological hope on the 'Christianization of the Nations' while my Amil brethren place the emphasis of their eschatological hope on the second coming of Christ.

As soon as I point out this fact, I anticipate the response of my Post-Mil brethren…"Nay Nay Nay!!! You fail to see our position correctly!!!". To which I respond, my bretheren, you know a tree by its fruit. When the vast preponderance of your talk and sermons dealing with our future hope focus on the Christianization of the nations and not upon the coming of Christ, I must concur with my prior thoughts.

And to my theonomic reconstuctionist bretheren, well, I suppose I have said enough but I notice this nifty emoticon on this board which I am sure will make you smile. :judge:

mere assertions. I can respond that amils are gnostic, but that wouldn't help the discussion, would it?

Yes, I do believe the world will be "Christianized." So what? I believe it will do so by the Power of Christ and evangelism. Oops, there goes Iain Murray's book, The Puritan Hope.
 

tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
I preached a sermon recently about the difference in practical emphasis between a Post-Mil position and an Amil position.

:judge:

Nobody knows what amil is. Some amils are simply people who don't believe in the legitimacy of inferring from some millennial view. Other amils are pessimillinnialists who hold that it is the will of God for things to get worse and worse and that therefore it is a sin to oppose evil. Some amils (especially in Dutch circles) are as looney as the premils, and are always hunting for the Antichrist hiding under the bed, and teach that the Antichrist is around the corner and the tribulation almost upon us. Other amils, the so-called optimistic kinds, are a sort of postmill without the worst features, such as divided the present time between the advents into different stages.
 
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