“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to other an aroma from life to life.” (II Cor 2:14-16).
If you really want to make a Reformed amillennialist cry start speaking to them about the sure-to-come triumph of Christ in space and time. These chaps are absolutely sickened by the idea of Triumph or the thought of rebuilding Christendom. One from their camp has written,
You see … what a Reformed minister of the Gospel is telling us here is that Christendom can’t be rebuilt… as time marches on the Kingdom of darkness grows and grows.
The gospel age “will finally result in the complete destruction of the church as a mighty and influential organization for the spread of the Gospel. For, finally every tribe and people and tongue and nation will worship antichristian government.” (More Than Conquerors p. 178)
Well, if that is the case … if this pessimism is to be characteristic of the Christian Church then we are defeated even before we start.
The Reformed Amil who belong to the R2K camp have been especially egregious about longing for the defeat of Christ in space and time. Here is R. Scott Clark telling us that to be Christian we have to believe in defeat;
“Reconstructionism was not a Reformed movement. It was a fundamentalist movement that found root in some Reformed circles. I’m well aware of Rushdoony’s complicated history re race. The Reconstructionist movement is powered by a sub-Reformed triumphalist eschatology. Even Rushdoony recognized the tension and essentially dismissed the Reformed churches (symbolized by his dismissal of the OPC as the “Orthodox Pharisees Church”). His was a theology of glory. Reformed theology is a theology of the cross.”
Note here that the expectation of Christ going from victory unto victory is called by Clark, “sub-Reformed triumphalist eschatology.” This obviously means that Clark expects Christ to get His ass kicked as time unwinds. Oh, sure, Scottie will dress up the ass-kicking of Christ so that it is a spiritual and pietistic good and he will tell us that exiles can expect no less. He will tell us that anybody who expects Christ to triumph in space and time have an over-realized eschatology not realizing that is what we would expect someone to say who has an under-realized eschatology.
R2K theology (of which Clark is one advocate of) creates a false dichotomy when it plays the “theology of the cross” paradigm vis-a-vis the so-called “theology of glory.” The Christian exists in Christ in both His cross (death) and His resurrection (life). Was it a theology of glory when the Gospel triumphed in Ephesus with the people bringing their books of magic to be tossed on the bonfire of the vanities (Acts 19)? Was it a theology of glory when St. Paul confidently asserted,
“… All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood the grace of God.”
This pitting of cross against glory is typical Lutheran nonsense — all “cross” (suffering) now and “glory” only after we have been finally defeated by the enemy in this life. Clark and the R2K clown brigade don’t seem to realize that we embrace the theology of the Cross by pursuing the glory of Christ in the contest of this life. We are the King’s soldiers employed to tear down strongholds and take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ and it is in the context of the soldier’s work that we become familiar with the hardship associated with the theology of the Cross. There is a theology of the Cross precisely because we contend for the victory that has been given us in Christ.
For the R2K fanboys, Christ is “never at the right hand of the Father, “sitting on His throne and currently reigning as “the King of kings and the Lord of lords” except in some kind of “spiritual” non-real sense. Only Christian charity keeps us from referring to these men as traitors to Christ’s Kingdom.
The theology of R2K is eschatologically Old Covenant. They have embraced an eschatology that is all “not-yet,” with no “now,” except in some kind of spiritualistic, pietistic, non-corporeal in space and time sense. It is one thing to endure hardship as a soldier of Christ (II Timothy 2:3-4) it is quite another for the soldier to conclude he is being faithful to his Captain precisely because he is getting his ass kicked all the time.
Indeed, it seems that the only time R2K really exerts itself for victory is when it is fighting for the position that the Christian will always be defeated. Only then do these limp-wristed soldiers get their backs up and begin to go all Rambo on their postmillennial fellow soldiers. “We will be victorious in being defeated. We won’t have anyone telling us we won’t have our teeth kicked in,” seems to be their motto.
Ah well … let the dead bury the dead. I only resist them because I don’t want their loser theology infecting the church any more than it already does.