Theological Presuppositions and the Interpretation of Revelation -- By: Steve Lewis

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 07:21 (Aug 2003)
Article: Theological Presuppositions and the Interpretation of Revelation
Author: Steve Lewis

Theological Presuppositions and the
Interpretation of Revelation

Steve Lewis

M.A., M.Min. candidate, Tyndale Theological Seminary
Faith Baptist Church, Parker, CO

In today’s culture most evangelical Christians do not understand why theologians, denominations, Bible colleges, seminaries, and missionary organizations make such a commotion about issues of prophecy. The common reasoning is that the Church should focus its efforts on presenting the gospel to the unsaved rather than arguing internally about the so-called “trivialities” of how future events will unfold. They insist that there is more agreement than disagreement among evangelicals about issues of prophecy. Robert Lightner surveys some of these areas of agreement.

We have seen that despite differences over details, evangelicals agree on several major issues regarding prophecy of things to come. They all agree mankind lives on after death and that heaven as well as hell will be occupied by humans. There will be a new heaven and a new earth in the future. All of God’s creatures will face Him in judgment. The dead, small and great, will be raised to spend eternity either with God in heaven or with the devil in hell. Christ is coming back to this earth again and His future coming will be just as literal as when He came as a babe in Bethlehem’s manger.1

While it may be true that there is common ground among evangelical Christians regarding some areas of Bible prophecy, the important question is, “What is the underlying cause for the

differences on points of prophecy?” Whatever accounts for the differences may be more significant and far-reaching than the fact that there is agreement on some issues.

What is not commonly understood by evangelical Christians today is that one’s views on eschatology reflect or mirror one’s basic presuppositions in other important areas, including comprehensive systems of doctrine that are tenaciously held as fundamental truths. The exercise of exploring different views on eschatology is often a useful way to uncover faulty presuppositions that arise from or impact other areas of theology. Determining what accounts for the differences in prophetic viewpoints can provide an opportunity to discover doctrinal errors that can be corrected to bring one’s beliefs more in line with the truths of the Word of God. Lightner makes the following profound statement regarding the differing views on prophecy: “Whatever else may be said of these views, one thing is sure: They cannot all be right.”2 Ther...

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