Friday, October 25, 2013

The Millennium 1: When Unity is more important than being right.

So, I'm preaching on Revelation 20 this Sunday (if Jesus doesn't first return first... and then my question will be answered before I have to preach the answer).
I'm therefore forced to give an interpretation of what the 'Millennium' of Revelation 20:2,3,5,6,7 refers to.

So much has been written about this and so much unnecessary division has taken place over this through the history of the church, that I'm a little nervous to preach on it: but praise God for expository preaching that means that I'm forced to preach on things I'd prefer not to!

Some initial thoughts.

1) It is 'unacceptable' in certain places to have certain views on this. This side of the Atlantic it is far less acceptable to be Premil. West of the Atlantic (certainly among baptists) it is less acceptable to be Amil.
2) People I deeply respect take different sides to this. In fact people I respect deeply have changed views on this in different directions to one another. (e.g. Tom Schreiner from Amil to Premil, Sam Storms from Premil to Amil)
3) As a tentative (actually, to be honest I'm only a little tentative!) amillennialist, I've just listened to Schreiner's sermon on Rev 20. I don't usually listen to other people's sermons before I preach or I'll be tempted to preach them. I thought that I ought to hear someone I respect teach the opposing view (particularly someone who was changing their mind from my view).

What I love most about his sermon is the sense of proportion: he is very gracious with those with whom he disagrees. but he is so without saying that the millennium is a not issue, or that we should just 'wait and see'.
We should all seek to understand every chapter of the bible and apply it to our lives.

In fact, in all I've read and heard from people on all sides of this debate, I've most enjoyed reading those who are most patient and charitable towards those with whom they disagree. I've not enjoyed reading those who characterise those who disagree as stupid or faithless.

We'll evaluate the arguments in subsequent posts, but for now I think that Tom is right, that grace and fellowship between brothers and sisters who disagree on this debate is FAR more important than where exactly each of us lands on this debate. Not to say that the debate is unimportant: It just isn't THAT important, and unity IS that important.

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