Immanentizing the Eschaton … A Brief Engagement with Stephen Wolfe

In a 31 minute video Stephen Wolfe says he does not want to immanentize the Eschaton while at the same time saying he wants to order the temporal things after the eternal. This is doublespeak. If one orders the temporal things after the eternal then one is immanentizing the eschaton to some degree.

I do agree that there is a danger with a philosophy that goes overboard in trying to immanentize the eschaton for the reason that such a project, when not constrained, denies the fallenness of man and original sin. When not constrained, immanentizing the eschaton, does not understand that in this life we never get all the glory now.

Having said that, immanentizing the eschaton is an inescapable category. All men will seek to build the present based on their idealized future. It would be insane not to pursue that. Of course, our problem is, is that those outside of Christ have a very different vision of the idealized future.

On this matter consider that our Lord Jesus taught us to pray that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Now if we, as God’s people, not only pray that but also live in terms of that prayer then we will be working, to some degree or another, on immanentizing the eschaton.

Finally, do keep in mind, that the dangers occurring from seeking to immanentize the eschaton have chiefly come from the Christ haters seeking to immanentize their humanistic vision of the eschaton. It is the Stalins and the Maos and the Pol Pots, and the Bela Kuns who have been those who bloodied the planet with their attempt to build humanist Utopias that were reflections of their Christless vision of the immanentized eschaton.

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.

4 thoughts on “Immanentizing the Eschaton … A Brief Engagement with Stephen Wolfe”

  1. “Finally, do keep in mind, that the dangers occurring from seeking to immanentize the eschaton have chiefly come from the Christ haters seeking to immanentize their humanistic vision of the eschaton.”

    But alas, not ONLY open Christ-haters! For we have to face the reality that some false prophets, with their visions of earthly apocalypse, have tried to make Christ into a pretext for Leftist revolution. Like such “liberation theologians” as Thomas Müntzer and Jan of Leyden for example.

    Friedrich Engels opined that in these figures, Christian theology reached the height of its revolutionary potential, and from that point on it was all downhill, as churches became more and more bourgeois and reactionary. One Marxist writer put it this way, writing in mid-20th century:

    “In general, [the churches] can be described as anti-revolutionary and anti-socialist, though some more blatantly so than others. For example, the surviving Calvinistic Churches: the State Churches of Scotland and Holland, are hotbeds of black reaction. Still worse, if possible, is the South African Church which adds colour to class hatred. The above is somewhat ironic when we consider the prominent role played by the Calvinist Churches in the bourgeois revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, ‘predestination’ automatically becomes counter-revolutionary after victory!

    The same goes for the others as well. The ‘revolutionary Church’ of the ‘Christian Socialists’ is a revolutionary myth. Historically, in the pre-capitalist days of such sects as the Lollards and Anabaptists, there were, undoubtedly, ‘heretical’ Churches that can accurately be called revolutionary, having regard for the circumstances of their time. But that is all ancient history. It is a far cry from the revolutionary Anabaptists of the sixteenth century to the smug Baptists of the twentieth: from Jan of Leyden to ‘Spurgeon’s Tabernacle’.[10]”

      1. It would appear to me that radical revolutionary “Christians” like Thomas Müntzer and John Brown were closer to Islam than Christianity (as well as Jewish false messiahs like Theudas and Judas, see Acts 5:36-7); they believed in God who permitted bloody jihad against unbelievers (and taking over their property). After all, Muhammad recruited his fighters largely among the discontented elements of the 7th century Arabian society and set them against the old elites. (Afterwards Muslim raiders then attacked other countries, like the Jacobins in the 1790s.)

        Martin Luther already saw similarities between Müntzerian and Muslim spirit:

        “Even in our own times, what was Muenzer seeking, except to become a new Turkish emperor? He was possessed of the spirit of lies and therefore there was no holding him back; he had to go at the other work of the devil, take the sword and murder and rob, as the spirit of murder drove him, and he created such a rebellion and such misery.

        It is part of the Turks’ holiness, also, that they tolerate no images or pictures and are even holier than our destroyers of images. For our destroyers tolerate, and are glad to have, images on gulden, groschen, rings, and ornaments; but the Turk tolerates none of them and stamps nothing but letters on his coins. He is entirely Muenzerian, too, for he overthrows all rulers and tolerates no gradations of government, such as princes, counts, lords, nobles and other feudatories; but he alone is lord over all in his own land, and what he gives out is only pay, never property or rights of rulership.”

  2. And “Old John Brown” also seems to have had the spirit of Thomas Müntzer within him:

    “Otto Scott, in his masterful study of the conspirators who financed John Brown’s murderous exploits, shows the development of the abolitionist campaign – a description which may contain a prophecy of Sider’s evangelical liberationism as well: “The new religion had started with arguments against such relatively harmless sins as smoking and drinking, had then grown to crusades denouncing and forbidding even commerce with persons whose morals were held to be invidious; it had expanded into antislavery as the answer to every ill of humanity; and it had finally come to full flower in the belief that killing anyone – innocent or guilty – was an act of righteousness for a new morality.”6

    The Committee financed John Brown, who claimed to have been appointed by God as His “special angel of death.”15 These radical abolitionists often claimed to be pacifists, but eventually came to applaud bloodshed as the only means of purging away the “sin” of slavery.”

    Leftists have no problem with the sort of “Christian Nationalism” that can be seen in the Battle Hymn of the Republic!

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