I’ve been wanting to express my frustration and excitement for some time now with respect to some of the revelation distributed to different places in the Body of Christ:
- Excitement – fabulous revelation that will change how we think and usher us into new realms in God and new dimensions of the manifestation of His Kingdom concretely here on earth if we will just get this stuff into us at a heart level.
- Frustration – people whom I respect, either personally or from afar based on their body of teaching and ministry, who contradict each other in aspects of their teaching. Contradiction is not necessarily a bad thing and is certainly not to be unexpected when groping to discover the Infinite God with finite minds and weak hearts. Where it becomes frustrating for me is the passion with which those “on one side” of a perspective categorize and label others.
Of course we all do it! 🙁 I was just in a church meeting Sunday afternoon where the diversity of perspectives, personalities and communication styles was exhilarating…which at first blush means: “Dang I wish they’d just shut-up!” I was seriously exhilarated and pleased by the diversity, but I was also seriously annoyed as a first reaction! 😉 As another example, just yesterday I was in the parking lot of a local supermarket waiting on Angela and Olivia who were inside shopping. While waiting I observed the stream of people arriving and leaving. One car caught my attention as it maneuvered slowly, directly in front of me, into it’s parking spot with its three occupants. You could see the visible signs of brokenness on what I supposed was a family. You could see where they needed a radical change of perspective and the gracious healing that only Jesus could bring. Unfortunately all of this “hindsight description” that sounds so spiritual manifests itself in my heart initially simply as “Ewww! What a depressing sight!” So, I admit, I put labels on people and I don’t do it with amazingly objective compassion and love.
That being said, when it comes to how we perceive God and His Kingdom I really think it’s important to realize that at the same time that we are being stunned by the depth and breadth of some revelation, our perception, our perspective, is really amazingly limited and small. I’ve attempted to represent it with an image in this mashup of clipart (ugly but I think it gets the idea across):
God and His Kingdom are so vast and multi-faceted that eternity will not be long enough for us to understand and experience everything. What I see/hear when I listen to/read about various revelations of who God is, how He acts, what His Kingdom is all about, etc. is more like this following image:
In this image, there is the logical realization that others do hold different perspectives, but over-simplification distorts reality and there is a tendency to lump all other perspectives into a few clearly defined camps that are then easier to dismiss. What happens then is that group “A” presents arguments as to why perspective “B” doesn’t really work. Group “A” will have some good points about their objections, but will neglect the fact that “B” is not really summed up that easily and that there are groups that they’ve lumped into “B” that hold to certain facets of that perspective but are really based on perspective “C”, etc. The fact of the matter is, that one needs to sink deep into the perspective of the other to see what they see and understand what they understand. I think when walking a mile in another man’s moccasins, we often stop after about 100 yards and are pretty sure our conclusions won’t change…forgetting how many miles we had to walk to gain our perspective.
So with that little soapbox dealt with, I want to present two different series of teachings. One is Martin’s Scott’s fabulous, line-upon-line presentation of a “framework” for developing an eschatological perspective broken down into 40 (that’s right 40! ) 15-minute podcasts. Both the podcasts and their transcripts can be found on his great and lively blog site (worth connecting with): http://3generations.eu/blog/?page_id=2640
The other is one of Mike Bickle’s many teaching series. Mike and the worshiping intercessors at IHOP in Kansas City have focused a LOT on eschatology in the last 10 years. They have come to many different conclusions than has Martin (who is more interested in creating a healthy framework for interpretation than to be rigid in interpretation). There are many other series specifically on the End Times on Mike’s site, but I chose one called “The Beauty Realm of God“, which is 8, 1-hour messages specifically on Revelation 4-5. The reason is that this series lays the foundation for the IHOP “framework” of how they view eschatology. So you kind of have two different “eschatological interpretation frameworks” if not really two different rigid eschatology theologies. I think they are both valuable to explore… deeply …as they both include rich, rich truth not presented in the other. You’ll have to deal with some unresolved tension however as there are definitely conflicting aspects to what they’ve concluded based on their perspectives.