The SBJT Forum -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 14:1 (Spring 2010)
Article: The SBJT Forum
Author: Anonymous


The SBJT Forum

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the forum’s format. Brian Vickers, Keith A. Mathison, A. B. Candy, Todd Miles, Thomas R. Schreiner, David Mathewson and Hershael W. York have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: What Is A Practical Application Of Biblical Eschatology?

Brian Vickers: Biblical eschatology is by design entirely practical. (I am using the word “eschatology” in the popular sense as typically applied to texts associated with “end times.” Eschatology proper, as it applies to the entire Bible, is not limited to texts about the end of the age.) If there is one thing that eschatological texts have in common, it is this: living today in light of tomorrow. The surprising thing is that even though this common thread runs through all these sorts of texts, the practical impact the future is meant to have on our lives today gets comparatively little attention—compared, that is, to topics such as the millennium, the rapture, and the identification of particular times, characters, and events such as those found in Revelation. Perhaps this is because the practical application found in eschatological texts cannot match the thrill of debating the millennium or the rapture. Though such issues have their place, we should not allow them to eclipse more biblically prominent themes. The fact is that we too often miss one of the main reasons the biblical authors have so much to say about the future—they want us to know how, and why, we should live today. A great example is 1 Corinthians 15.

In 1 Cor 15:58 Paul draws an inference—a “here’s why this is important for you” conclusion—from verses 50-57 in particular and the entire chapter in general. Christians are familiar with this chapter for Paul’s summary of the gospel (vv. 3-4); his memorable, and quotable, comments: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (v. 19) and, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (v. 32); perhaps for the Adam-Christ parallel (vv. 21-22, 45); and certainly for his discussion of perishable and imperishable, natural and spiritual, and mortal and immortal bodies (see vv.

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