So this isn’t really a continuation of my end times thoughts that I shared recently on LakelandLocal.com. If you haven’t read them by the way, you can do so by clicking here.
Basically, I tried to defend and explain the evangelical view that there will be a second coming of Jesus Christ and a final judgment soon thereafter.
One of the site’s other contributors, Billy Townsend, had some very valid questions and challenges to the idea of God’s judgment and of the rapture in particular. I did my best to engage his questions and respond in a humble manner, while still holding true to my beliefs.
I think I succeeded, and thanks to those who either expressed their support in the comments section on the site, in emails, or in conversations.
I’ve had a few days to decompress and reflect on the views I shared, and a recent article by Relevant Magazine helped me to do just that. I know I refer to Relevant a lot on this blog, and a big reason is because they live up their name. Most of the material I read on there is Biblically sound yet very relevant to our culture and my generation.
The article I found is titled How to Be a Realist Without Losing Your Soul. Here’s a paragraph that pretty much sums up the main point of the article:
“Idealists ignore the grim reality of an ex-Eden world. Cynics ignore the eschatological reality that a new Eden is around the corner. A hopeful realist exercises the complicated discipline of holding both realities together in tension.”
After reading that article, I’d like to think of myself as a hopeful realist. We can’t deny the non-idealistic things that exist in the world – death, suffering, strife, etc., etc. In the same way, we can’t deny that there are legitimate questions about our faith that we have to be able to answer when challenged.
As Christians, we can’t live in a bubble. Even though we might not change an unbeliever’s mind or change the fact that evil exists in the world, we have to acknowledge both and engage them. It’s a cliche, but it’s essential to have the mind-set that we are “in the world but not of the world.”
This experience of defending my beliefs in a public forum has strengthened my faith, and it has given me a more humble attitude as I approach people who have legitimate questions.
I’m glad that Billy Townsend and I were able to debate different thoughts about the end times, and I pray that if given the opportunity to discuss faith topics with him again that I would retain my “hopeful realist” perspective.