Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alcohol, Slavery and Loss of Social Concern 3

A third factor in the breakup of evangelical social concern was a monolithic shift in eschatology which occurred in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Up to this point premillennial, postmillennial and amillennial evangelicals had been united in working and praying toward spiritual, cultural and social renewal....

With the onslaught of post-Darwinism secularism, evangelicals reacted against this... and moved toward an eschatology which explained more clearly the spiritual degeneration they saw... D.L. Moody, who was converted to Darbyite Dispensationalism and transmitted it into the warp and woof of Fundamentalism, summed up this reaction rather graphically:

The word of God nowhere tells me to watch and wait for the coming of the millennium, but for the coming of the Lord. I don’t find any place where God says the world is to grow better and better, and that Christ is to have a spiritual reign on earth of a thousand years (as in the prominent postmillennial thought of the day). I find that the earth is to grow worse and worse and that at length there is going to be a separation (of the saved from the unsaved).

Henry Ward Beecher reported, "He [Moody] thinks it is no use to attempt to work for this world. In his opinion it is blasted- a wreck bound to sink- and the only thing that is worth doing is to get as many of the crew off as you can, and let her go."... the whole momentum of Dispensational theology moved toward a form of premillennialism which was evangelistically active but socially passive. This outlook expected the world to become increasingly corrupt and conceived the church's main duty as witnessing to the justifying work of Christ, not making disciples whose growth in sanctification could change the world. The result was an outlook which accurately predicted the apostasy of Western Christendom in the twentieth century but which may also have helped produce it.

A Direct Quote from Dynamics, p. 376-77 

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