May 16

Must Belief in the Second Advent of Jesus Christ Promote Passivity?

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In the next few posts I will serialize a paper I wrote to address this question. In this post I will give the introduction of the paper:

The Second Advent and Passivity: A Position Paper on Eschatology

As one reads the literature produced by many who accept a literal Second Advent of Jesus Christ, one sees what I believe to be a problematic emphasis on passivly waiting and seeing God unfold what God said would happen in the Bible. In many cases there is nothing for humanity to do and the Christian simply watches with “inside information” on what will happen in the end. This kind of eschatology can promote a passivity that merely supports the status quo in the world. I believe that there will be a literal, visible Second Advent where Jesus Christ will break into human history to fully set up the Kingdom of God on this earth. However, this belief does not necessarily promote passivity or mere acceptance of the status quo. I will show that this kind of emphasis on passively waiting actually postpones the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

The Seventh-day Adventist church teaches that right now both human and divine agencies are in a work that is a pre-requisite to the Second Advent. In other words there is something that humanity, with the help of God, must do before the Second Advent can take place. In this paper, I will describe this work as bringing God?s intention for humanity. At creation, we see God?s original intention for humanity. At the Second Advent, we see God?s ultimate intention for humanity. Today in the ongoing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit, we see God seeking to implement God?s current intention for humanity.

We cannot fully describe any of God?s intentions for we don?t have a full record of creation neither do we have a full record of how the Kingdom of God will look after the Second Advent, but we can catch a glimpse. We can catch a glimpse of these intentions by appealing to ethnic tradition as exemplified in the yearnings of the slaves in their spirituals. We can catch a glimpse by theological reflection on the demands of justice and mercy. We can catch a glimpse by looking at God?s intentions in the Bible and in the doctrines and teachings of my own and other ecclesial traditions. In this paper, I will organize my reflection with three primary symbols from my ecclesial tradition that speak to God?s intention and humanities work in bringing God?s intention. My guiding purpose is to show how reflection on God?s intention can help to sidestep the possibility of passivity in light of the Second Advent.

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passivity, Second Advent, Text Articles


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