At various times since 1525, groups of Anabaptists have gained notoriety for their eschatological views, particularly the Anabaptists who gained control of the city of Münster in 1534–5, proclaiming it to be the New Jerusalem. As a rule, though, the Anabaptist tradition has been characterized by caution concerning views of the “last things.”
Anabaptist convictions, at their heart, have focused on faithfulness in this present life much more than on speculation concerning the future. Implicit in such a focus, we may see a sense of trust in God. As we follow the way of Jesus we may be confident that the God who remained faithful to Jesus will also remain faithful to Jesus’ followers.
What follows are two meditations on these convictions concerning importance of the call to discipleship for viewing the doctrine of eschatology.
The End of the World
At the turn of the millennium, many Christian bookstores and the Christian airwaves included an extra large number of “end times” types of writings and sermons. Reflecting on “the end of the world” is called “eschatology,” the doctrine concerned with the end of the world. However, what follows here more accurately could be seen as “anti-eschatology,” or, at least, a different kind of eschatology than that found on the Christian airwaves.
“End” as purpose. This is my main point: In the Bible, and I want to propose, for us today, the point in talking about the “end of the world” is not so much to focus on what is going to happen to the world in the future. Rather, to talk about the “end of the world” biblically points us to the purpose of the world. Or, more directly, our purpose in living in the world. Continue reading