Preaching the Millennium

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Timothy L. Brown

Abstract

Much inspiration for this article came from friends in the Tzozil Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, Chiapas, Mexico: Domingo Salvadore and Manuel, Felipe, Mariano and the other Mariano who plays in a wonderful "mariachi band." To their names I add those of a long list of village elders, pastors, and evangelists, who do, without the help of this article, the very thing I am commending here- they preach the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Their millennial preaching is largely a subversive activity which rises out of an intensely personal experience of God's grace in Jesus Christ. Pointing courageously to the same, it causes light to shine in the darkness, threatens this world's cozy and settled arrangements, and gives witness to a new world being birthed by God's amazing grace. When I preach I make both friends and a good bit of money (at least by their standards); when they preach they are shot at and lose their homes. May God bless and keep them, and all whom they love!

By preaching the millennium I mean the kind of preaching that rises most naturally out of our Reformed "amillennial" bias that "Having decisively defeated the powers of evil on the cross and been vindicated by his resurrection, Christ rules by his Word and Spirit. The reign of God is being realized in history but the powers of evil continue to exist alongside the kingdom of God until Christ returns in glory and consummates the kingdom with the final judgment, the resurrection of the dead, and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth." 1 In other words, preaching the millennial rule of Christ presupposes that the realities, rulers, and realms of this world will one day fully become, and even in fact now are, the realm of the Ii ving God and of his Christ. This kind of preaching recognizes, if only instinctively, that all the tools (economic, military, technological, and informational) that are assumed to effect change in one world are ineffective in another. It further recognizes that the long-established cultural enfranchisement of a boastful North American Protestantism is not a birthright but a death notice. This kind of preaching understands well that when Jesus said, "You will be dragged before governors and kings," he was not speaking of currying favor or acquiring political clout, but rather of bearing witness!

Article Details

Keywords
Bible. Revelation; Bible -- Homiletical use; Millennium (Eschatology) -- Biblical teaching; Millennialism; Eschatology -- Biblical teaching;Bible. Revelation -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.; Reformed Church -- Theology
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