As I near the end of this series exploring the beliefs of the church I belong to I come to the one that started it all: the belief that human history as we know it will end with the return of Jesus to establish His heavenly kingdom at a date we can’t specify but have been describing since 1844 as “soon.” This naturally raises all kinds of questions, “How Soon is Soon?” is, in fact, the title of the last sermon I was ever asked to preach in my home church (you can see a clip from it here and make your own judgement about why I haven’t been asked since, but to be honest, not preaching has been kind of a blessing in many ways). Still, the vlog above brings me to about the same conclusion as that sermon did: continuing to preach “Jesus is coming soon!” for over 150 years will certainly stir up a sense of urgency in some, but will lead to cynicism in many others as they look back at all the generations for whom He didn’t come. That said, I am no more convinced than I ever was by the belief that we humans don’t need rescue, that we are capable of building a better world in the here and now without divine intervention. I just don’t see human history trending that way.
Which would leave me in utter despair if I did not believe Jesus meant it when He said “I will come again.” Once again, this is one of those statements of belief that leave me feeling out of kilter with both my Adventist and non-Adventist friends … I’m sure many Adventists, and some other evangelical Christians, feel a stronger sense of impetus about the Second Coming and the need to preach its imminence than I do, but my less religious friends and even many liberal Christian friends probably think I’m crazy for believing in such a thing as a Second Coming at all. But, as so often, this is where I find myself: perched between faith and doubt, resting my hope on something that seems far-fetched and yet without which, the world makes no sense (and the Bible certainly makes far less).
What about you? What do you think about the end of the world, final judgement, and Jesus’ return to this earth?
By the way I’ll note here that last week a great discussion about the heavenly sanctuary broke out among people who’d seen the blog, but it was on my Facebook page. My intention is that when people leave interesting comments on Facebook, with their permission I’m going to copy those comments here to the blog so that later when I look back at this series I’ll be able to see the responses as well as my posts, since dialogue and discussion are my main interests in using this format to explore my beliefs.