Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Longing for Heaven?
I hope to flesh this out more thoroughly later, but this will have to do for now.
Over at TeamPyro (see link in sidebar), a debate has sprung up over the subject of whether Christians are too heavenly-minded. Needless to say, the ones who insist that we are belong to the Emergent Church movement. Some have even gone so far as to strongly imply that we as believers are to build the kingdom of God here on earth, and not think about "pie in the sky." Hmmm. Where have we heard this before? I've always thought that the EC movement was regurgitated 1960s liberalism in new guise, and this is more confirmation of it. And, as always, we have to point back to Scripture to see what the Lord actually says about both Heaven and Hell.
References to the afterlife are numerous throughout Scripture, Old Testament included. Here are just a few:
1. Enoch in Genesis 5. God took him directly to Heaven because Enoch walked with Him.
2. Elijah in II Kings 2. God took Elijah directly to Heaven in a chariot of fire.
3. King David mourning his dead son in II Samuel 12. David said he would join his son in the afterlife in time.
Let's go to the New Testament. Jesus talked about Hell more than anyone else in the New Testament, and He also talked about Heaven. There is so much material that can be found so easily it is superfluous to retype it here. The book of Revelation ends with the true Kingdom of God established at last with a new Heaven and a new Earth. Prior to that, the dead in Christ were in His presence . . . in Heaven . . . awaiting the consummation of the ages.
The Apostle Paul said plainly that we are to set our minds on things above (Colossians). He also spoke of the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him (II Thessalonians 2). The Apostle Peter wrote of how this present world would be destroyed (II Peter). There's so much more.
Are we to ignore the world and do no good in it while waiting for the Lord and eternal life with Him? Stupid question and I am surprised it gets asked. Jesus said in Matthew 5 that our good works here would bring God glory. Paul said that believers were created for good works. That's in Ephesians. I think it's a canard -- and a pretty obvious one -- that biblical conservatives don't care about the lost world and its real physical needs. Ever been to a local rescue mission? Ever been to a food pantry? Ever seen what happens when your house burns down and how fellow believers respond? Ever hear of Samaritan's Purse? Again, there's so much more. But since these are private actions and not government directed through generous confiscation of your money, we can't count those. And that, I believe, is where the rubber really meets the road.
One of the contributors in the TeamPyro comment thread said it best. Those pushing Emergent theology so hot and heavy are more than likely more excited about using religion to advance left-wing political goals than they are about really introducing people to the biblical Lord Jesus. It's been done before and sometimes with pretty horrible results.
Liberation Theology, anyone?