Ask The Pastor — What Of Immanentizing The Eschaton?

Dear Pastor,

As for the question of immanentizing the eschaton, you vote that we usher in the Christian one; I vote that we wait for Christ to usher in the eschaton.


Thank you for your insightful offering.

In reference to ushering in Eschatons. You seemed to miss the point that I was trying to make earlier when I said,

by insisting that the common realm belongs to common grace and natural law what they (R2K adherents) end up doing is creating a vacuum in which the other adherents of other gods will try to immanentize their respective eschatons. So while at least some amillennialists want to avoid immanentizing the Christian eschaton what their retreat ends up doing is allowing the immanentizing of other non-Christian eschatons. We must remember that it is never a question whether or not if some eschaton will be immanentized but only a question of which eschaton will be immanentized. I vote for the Christian one.

There is no neutrality on the question concerning immanentizing eschatons. The question isn’t, “Will we or will we not usher in a eschaton,” the question rather is, “Which eschaton will we work to incarnate?”

Concerning this matter keep in mind that culture is the consequential manifestation of what we believe concerning ultimate theological reality. Now since all theology is teleological and always has the end (eschaton) in mind, it simply is impossible for humans to build cultures where no consideration (whether epistemologically conscious of that consideration or not) is given of immanentizing the eschaton. The culture that we live in right now is the result of some successful theology managing to bring its vision of the future end into the present.

Let me note, that I quite agree that there can be dangers in non-humble considerations of eschaton immanentizing. However, for all the dangers I see there I see far more dangers in a escapism or retreatism which allows the eschatons of pagan gods to have their way.

We need to keep in mind here the words of A. A. Hodge when he wrote,

If the national life in general is organized upon non-Christian principles, the churches which are embraced within the universal assimilating power of that nation will not long be able to preserve their integrity.

A. A. Hodge, Evangelical Theology, p. 283-84

Now, Hodge doesn’t explicitly reference eschaton immanentizing but he has in mind exactly that which I am trying to get at. If we will not live in such a way that puts the feet to our prayers of “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” thus immanentizing the Christian eschaton, we will, as God’s people be embraced in the assimilating powers of non-Christian principles which are working to immanentize their version of their religions eschaton.

Thanks for the conversation David.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on “Ask The Pastor — What Of Immanentizing The Eschaton?”

  1. Thank you for posting this and for the opportunity to continue the conversation.

    Concerning this matter keep in mind that culture is the consequential manifestation of what we believe concerning ultimate theological reality. Now since all theology is teleological and always has the end (eschaton) in mind, it simply is impossible for humans to build cultures where no consideration (whether epistemologically conscious of that consideration or not) is given of immanentizing the eschaton.

    I am not sure how you are defining “culture.” On the one hand, I agree with you that there is an absolute antithesis between believing and unbelieving thought. From the perspective of world and life views, there is no neutral ground shared by, say, a Christian businessman and a non-Christian one. One of them is a citizen of this present evil age, his mind set on the things of the flesh; the other is a citizen of the age to come, his mind set on the things of the Spirit. The two men represent two life systems locked in mortal combat (to paraphrase Kuyper).

    And yet … and yet, these two men share a common language. The clothing one of them wears is indistinguishable from that of the other. They live in the same neighborhood in the same sorts of houses, furnished in much the same way. They drive similar automobiles. They both wake up listening to classical music, they both have iphones and they both root for the same sports teams.

    In other words, they share a common cultural realm that cannot be exhaustively explained in terms of a “consequential manifestation of … ultimate theological reality.” Like the sunshine and the rain, the accoutrements of culture come to us by common grace, and not as a byproduct of our ultimate theological commitments.

    There will come a day when these two men no longer inhabit a common cultural realm. But I still vote against immanentizing even a Christian eschaton because it seems to me that to do so is to confuse creation with redemption and this world for the one to come.

    1. Culture is defined as “theology externalized,” or, “the outward manifestation of a people’s inward beliefs.”

      I would agree with you that they share a common language. All reality is God’s reality. But I would disagree w/ you that the handling of that common reality by those committed to hostility of Christ allows them to understand the dialect with which the Christian speaks.

      Is the clothing really indistinguishable? Certainly, the Christian doesn’t wear cloth made and manufactured in planet heaven but the clothing they wear, vis a vis the pagan is distinguishable. Is the clothing that the hooker wears the same as the clothing that the pastor’s wife wears? Is the clothing that the gang banger is wearing the same as the clothing of Christian businessman? Are our houses furnished the same way? I can foresee a consistent Christ hater having a secret dungeon for S & M games. No Christian would have that as part of the design of their domicile. It is true that there is some overlap but that only occurs not because they are speaking the same language but rather because both Christian and non Christian have not yet worked out all the implications of their world view and that lack of consistency allows each to dwell with the other in the land of felicitous inconsistency.

      Christians and non Christians have all things in common but they share no neutral ground. The non Christian, as they are increasingly consistent w/ their anti-Christ presuppositions will despoil and mar all the culture they share with the Christian who is becoming likewise increasingly consistent w/ their Christ embracing presuppositions.

      The things you classify as “accouterments of culture,” are indeed a consequential manifestation of ultimate theological commitments. Will we as a culture build Tepees for houses? Will we listen to hip hop or classical? Will we fund with our taxes a gulag archipelago or will we fund interstate highways.

      Finally, we remain separated on the eschaton issue. I keep insisting that immanentizing an eschaton is an inescapable category that all people do and you seem to keep suggesting that men can avoid doing that. I keep telling you that in the “already,” of the “already, not yet” the world to come is already here but you keep telling me that world to come is still all not yet. I think that plays havoc w/ Biblical eschatology. But here is where our different millennial positions are revealing themselves.

  2. I would not agree that the Christian and non-Christian speak the same language since the use of language is dependent upon one’s philosophy. While the one confesses with his mouth that Christ is Lord, the other is a fool who says there is no God. One’s presuppositions drives one’s language and so it is that while Christian and non-Christians may use the same words, they mean different things by them and thus use them in opposition to one another nullifying the idea that they either speak the same language or even have the same use for words.

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