In the first chapter of the book The Peacemaking Remnant Charles Scriven questions understanding mission as talk and spirtual life as escape. Scriven sees the dominant eschatology as simply teaching escape or resignation to the powers. Our end time scenario becomes simply telling people the important information that helps them leave the world that is destined to failure.
In contrast to this dominant eschatology, Scriven seeks to teach that the role of the church is to be the Peacemaking remnant in the world. Scriven identifies the group as “a faithful minority [that] bear[s] witness ot he victory of Christ in the midst of last-day crisis.”
Scriven pushes the church to demonstrate the kingdom of God in the world as the witness of the church and not simply to tell others some important words that will allow them to leave and wait. I was immediately struck by the correspondence of such a view with the Sabbath-keeping church ecclesiology that I have attempted to articulate on this blog. As a people we have been called to bear witness to the principles of the Sabbath to the world.
Is the church a demonstration of the principles of the Kingdom of God today? Is the church a demonstration of the principles of the Sabbath (Participation in the Coming Kingdom, Disengagement from the Present World for the purpose of Re-engagement, Celebration of Community).
As we study eschatology and the end time events, let us always ask the question “What difference will this teaching make in the real world?” Let us not have an eschatology that has the same issue that Jurgen Moltmann decries in his book Theology of Hope that robbs our eschtology “…of [its] directive, uplifting, and critical significance for all the days which are spent here, this side of the end, in history.”
Lest you think I attack our emphasis on end time events, instead I affirm and applaud our belief in the end time and ultimately in the Second Advent of Jesus Chirst. I just believe that our eschatology and ecclesiology (understanding of Church) should promote the church BEING God’s hands and feed in the world today.