Make the call.
Summer and baseball are inextricably linked. The guy with the worst job on a hot July day is the one in the black get-up – wearing thick padding, on top of that – behind the catcher, behind the plate. Beyond the discomfort, he has to call ‘em as he sees ‘em, based on a virtual box, over the plate. You might not see it, but the strike zone will determine the outcomes of the game. You might not agree with his calls, but his task is to use his interpretation of reality to make critical decisions.
That’s baseball; what does that have to do with life? In baseball, it’s the strike zone; in life, it’s theology. God is the Man in Black (symbolically); he’s enforcing the rules and the limits that he has established. You can stand up and cheer or jeer when he makes his calls… but opinions don’t change his conclusions. What he says, goes.
Last week – leading up to the 4th of July – this blog wasn’t full of optimism. Instead of painting a rosy picture of America, it addressed the systematic erosion of the Judeo-Christian foundation on which our country was built. People are opting-out of active participation in faith-based relationships and redefining their values based on celebrity tweets rather than apostolic epistles. What’s ahead?
The answer to that is rooted in your theology; specifically, the sub-set of theology that focuses on the bottom-of-the-ninth (using the baseball analogy). It’s called eschatology: the study of what the Bible teaches about the end of this “game,” and what comes after the final “out.”
There are two doctrinal positions regarding the End Times: they are branded Pre-Millennial and Post-Millennial. You can click those for some clarity, but here’s the fortune-cookie summary: both camps believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will someday return to Earth, to wrap things up. Their conflict concerns when that will happen… and what we’re supposed to do, between now and then.
The Millennium – as a biblical concept – is the promised period of Jesus’ reign over the world we live in. Described in Scripture as a 1000-year span, it has been a compelling promise of hope for believers throughout the testaments.
Premillennials believe that Jesus is coming back – literally, physically – to establish and oversee his Kingdom of peace and righteousness. Postmillennials believe that Jesus will come back after believers have established his Kingdom, in preparation for his triumphal return. That’s a critically-important issue to resolve, personally. Why is that true?
The answer defines the parameters of our life mission. For Pre believers, success is the fulfillment of the Great Commission: make disciples of all nations. They believe that we are called to make the Gospel accessible to every ethno-linguistic group around the world; when that task is completed, the King will return to fulfill his promises.
For Post believers, they rally around the commission given to Adam and Eve, before they were corrupted by sin: “Rule over…” (Genesis 1:28). From that mandate, the Special Forces of the Post crowd embrace Dominion Theology (again, click).
The Great Commission compels believers toward conversions; the Dominion Mission points adherents toward conquests. Theology sets the tone for all that is done in the Name of Jesus.
If “success” – for Christians – is to bring in the Kingdom of Righteousness leading to the return of Jesus, we’re losing ground. If the progress that matters is the expansion of the Gospel to those waiting to hear it for the first time, great progress has been made in our generation. We’re near the finish line.
Figure out what you believe; theology matters. Believe it… and, then, get on with it! (By the way, I’m Pre: I live to run up the score in conversions – not conquests – until he returns.)