In the churches of Christ, there is a relatively recent debate on the nature of the, allegedly future, New Heavens and New Earth. Articles have been written, speeches given, and lines of fellowship begun to be drawn over this issue.
In the 20s, 30s, and 40s the amillennial eschatology of the coC served its purpose in giving solid answers to dispensationalism. Unfortunately, while premillennialism was deconstructed, it was not replaced by a “systematic eschatology”. The eschatology for many has been “I don’t know what the millennial reign of Christ is, but it isn’t what premillennialists say.” This reactionary eschatology is incapable of offering solid answers to NHNE and preterism because it can only deal with premillennialism. Preterism and NHNE are both born out of this eschatology as attempts to biblically construct something that was left in the ashes of premillennialism.
NHNE advocates have lamented that their view has not been properly represented or dealt with. Unfortunately, welcome to the club! While preterism emphasizes the “at hand” nature of the kingdom of God, NHNE takes a consistent approach to the traditional resurrection theory of the churches of Christ. Both views try to be consistent; the question is which is consistent with Scripture.
Traditional coC eschatology cannot answer NHNE because it ignores the roles of John the Baptist, Jesus, the twelve, and Paul as eschatological figures. In other words, since it is inconsistent with the timeframe and nature of Old Testament prophecy, it cannot give a solid answer to NHNE.
Furthermore, NHNE acknowledges several exegetical oversights of the traditional view. For example, the power behind apantesis in 1 Thessalonians 4 is seen by NHNE advocates. The failure of the traditional crowd to properly acknowledge this argument and others is only turning more to the NHNE teaching.
Those who are studying this view yearn for someone to deal with their arguments honestly. This is why I invite someone within the churches of Christ who holds this view to engage with me on the subject of the timing and nature of the coming of the Lord in a formal, public discussion. My desire to do this is severalfold: 1) I honestly seek truth, 2) I believe that a proper understanding of Scripture, and, therefore God, can improve one’s life (so I feel morally obligated to pursue and preach what I see to be truth), and 3) I believe that this will serve the larger Christian community in allowing them to hear these two perspectives dealt with thoroughly and honestly.
I promise to not treat you as others have. I promise to be open, honest, and, to the best of my abilities, an accurate representation of the character of Christ. I pray that you will do the same.
For my regular readers, this video is not about NHNE, but it does go into some detail on one favorite passage of theirs: Acts 3. Start at 17 minutes unless you want to hear me answer a Bible question on the responsibilities of husbands and wives to one another! https://youtu.be/TACTKBMjLc8
For the record, I do not believe eschatology to be a fellowship issue. Our ‘A’ and ‘Z’ are the same: eternity in the presence of God. I do not believe that one’s understanding of Revelation (‘B’-‘Y’) has any bearing on one’s salvation. Attitude, in my opinion, is far more important.
Have a blessed day,