It's just a question of which armageddon
btw it's a spoof!
Imagine you're in a conversation with someone of another religion. At some point you might ask them: "Are you sure of heaven/Valhalla/getting beamed to the mother ship?" (delete as appropriate).
This is a good question because no other god actually saves. They might talk a big game but they can't be counted on to do the business. And so the follower of this other religion will be forced back on themselves. They'll either openly confess 'No' or they'll be full of bravado and demonstrable good works but the most they can say is, "I hope so." And when they confess their lack of assurance it's enough to bring you to tears. What wicked demon has ensnared you that you may even kill yourself in its service yet have no hope of its favour!?
Well don't we see the same thing with the carbon-cutting gospel? I receive emails from an old university friend (I'll bet many of you get the same ones - his global advocacy group has become massive). But for all the candlelit vigils, the millions strong petitions, the vast sums raised and ambitious goals - the lack of assurance is palpable. Every email ends "with hope." But you just wonder don't you.
It seems to me that even the most committed activist working to tax carbon into oblivion doesn't really think their gospel will deliver. The most optimistic talk of the climate campaigner sounds so much like the devout Mormon who 'hopes' they'll make it. Maybe I'm reading things in here, but I get the distinct impression that deep down their whole fear-driven carbon-cutting works both hide the fact and spring from the fact that they don't think it's going to happen. Not deep down.
Oh they hope so! And they hope it enough to wear themselves out in anxious labour. But there's no assurance.
So how do we preach to the climate campaigner? Let me suggest not by agreeing with their apocalyptic, pseudo-messianic gospel and then adding in a few Jesus extras to get the job done. (You're correct in your assessment of the planet's destiny and true rulers, but let me add in Jesus who helps us to be the saviours!)
No, that's not the way. But not because we have no compassion. We do. It is desperate to see them so harassed and helpless like sheep without a Shepherd. And so the way forwards is to teach them (Mark 6:34). And perhaps especially we might paint for them a cosmic picture of the new heavens and the new earth, the home of righteousness. Not just a reduction in the number of hurricanes, but a crystal sea like glass! Not just preventing the displacement of people groups but their planting in the land! Not just the protection of the trees but their joyful worship! Not the maintenance of adequate food supplies but the richest of meats and wine dripping from the hills! Not alleviation of drought but the Lamb shepherding us to streams of Living Water! Not simply the preservation of lions and lambs but their reconciliation! And a little Child will lead them. We introduce them to this Child and He will calm all fears. Because He is able to deliver on this future. He guarantees it.
Maybe we need to be saying to our climate believer friends "After all this effort, are you sure the planet's going to be ok? Cos I am."
By the way, Paul Huxley speaks much sense on the reasons for scepticism here.
1) How does Piper square his love of Jonathan Edwards with his own pre-mill and credo-baptist theology? Is there anywhere where he talks about parting company with Edwards?
2) Does anyone see the irony of two young guns bumping fists behind Piper just as he lays into the dumb guys that surround Wilson? Or was that irony intended by said young guns?
The Christian is expectant. We wait for Christ our Bridegroom.
But how do we wait? Like this?
I recently read Sam Harris quoting this statistic: 44% of Americans believe Jesus will 'certainly' or 'probably' return in the next 50 years. That's not 44% of American Christians. That's 44% of Americans!
Now I think Jesus could return today. But I also think He could be another few millennia. I'm not sure it's fruitful to put a time frame to this. But perhaps we know people who scour the newspapers for signs of antichrist - certain that the end is nigh. And by nigh - they mean Tuesday week.
Just before Jesus ascended His followers wanted to get an eschatological timetable from Him:
Acts 1:6-9: So when they had come together, they asked Him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
They wanted to know times and seasons. Jesus says 'That's not your job! Your job is to be witnesses to the ends of the earth."
We do not wait by worrying about when. We wait by witnessing.
Notice how Acts 1 continues:
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven."
Even as Jesus goes - even as they're told that Jesus will return the same way! - the disciples receive a rebuke for gawping at the skies. They've been given their marching orders.
The posture of the church as we wait for Christ is not stationary, faces heavenwards. It's, verse 8, moving out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth witnessing to Christ.
We wait by witnessing.
Now this is just cruel.
UPDATE: There used to be a youtube video here where a girl was "pranked". They 'raptured' her Christian friends and made her think she was left behind.
On second thoughts, I've considered that posting the video participates in the prank. So I've deleted it.