Friday, June 04, 2010

Apocalyptic Constructs in Eschatology

I'm spending the next few weeks working my way through some of Ladd's key texts (plus a few that I just have on my shelf!): Blessed Hope, Gospel of the Kingdom, Presence of the Future, NT Theology, & the Last Things. I have some key questions as this is not the first time I've read most of these. However, as I launched into it I find myself wrestling through the apocalyptic scenarios that we attach to eschatology via the book of Revelation (and I would argue some gospel passages we interpret via Revelation). Ladd certainly picks and chooses his way through these - dropping things like the supposed rapture. But still he has a specific end time scenario laid out. For me the essentials are the eschaton in Christ's return - but I'm flexible in how this all plays out. I'm not so sure his discount of immanence based on a literal yet-to-come anti-Christ is solid. I get that this focus on eschatology through narrative does certain things for Ladd - but I'm wondering if the particular narrative that takes Revelation as a sort of timetable to destruction is helpful or even correct.

Maybe part of this is a knee jerk on my part against dispensational narratives that I find dangerous to Christian witness. But I think there needs to be a way to wisely navigate texts which have been the source of huge division and even undermining the mission of the Church (this is how I see it). I'm not willing to throw out the text of Revelation (nor would I propose that), but I think that there have to be other ways to read it - as a fifth gospel perhaps? After all the title is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Much as I talk about not being a biblical scholar - I guess I have some biblical work ahead of me here.



Chad Brooks said...

Thanks for sharing, these are really important things to think about. I featured the post in the Eschatology Round Up at

byron smith said...

Make sure you read Bauckham's take on Revelation.

One of Freedom said...

I have Bauckham and Gilbertson on my short reading list already.