Recently we discussed a sermon that gave prominent lip-service to “God’s law” in society while assiduously avoiding any specifics. (There’s a real silver lining to this, btw, which we’ll discuss in a later article.) The sermon we reviewed was part 2 in a 2-part series, and part 1 is actually more remarkable in a number of ways, especially in regard to how premillennial eschatology can destroy whatever else good your theology has to offer society.
In the first part of his series, “Who is God’s Candidate,” John MacArthur, Jr. not only gives just as much token talk to God’s law as in the part we previously reviewed, he actually spends a good bit of time preaching from the historical sanctions sections in Deuteronomy 28 and 29. He goes so far as to argue that these type of sanctions do not only apply to ancient Israel, but to all nations in all times and places. In short, he actually argues that God still judges nations today, in history, according to His law.
This is a fairly radical contradistinction to most premillennialists, although, again, without any specific discussion of the details God’s law requires for society and social institutions, such talk is empty. What good does it do to know about judgment in history according to God’s law if we don’t have specific knowledge of how to apply that law? Nevertheless, such an appeal to Deuteronomy 28 and 29 is something Reconstructionists have been teaching for decades, and our premillennial opponents have been denying and using as a point of criticism against us. So this seems huge.
But then the great blade in the premillennial guillotine finally drops.
Remember the America that was, some of you? This is not a Christian nation; there’s no such thing. It never has been a Christian nation. Even the founding fathers were not true Christians. But they did understand that Christianity was a fix necessity, because it established divine law; and when people knew that this was law from God, it controlled their behavior. Biblical ethics, biblical patterns of morality were honored, respected, and expected. Marriage, family, virtue, work, relationships, success were all connected to noble ideals that are found in Scripture. That’s long gone, long gone, unlikely to ever appear in the lifetime of anybody sitting here, because evil men just get worse and worse.
Even if we could set aside the problems we formerly discussed, as well as a few other foibles found here—even if MacArthur’s overall appeal for God’s law in society were robust, detailed, correct, and sincere—in the end, his eschatology slices down and leaves the whole theology headless and in a pool of blood.
Social theory giveth, and eschatology taketh away.
We have discussed this problem so many, many, many, many, many, many times. It very often comes in the form of this misapplication of 2 Timothy 3. Gary DeMar has busted the “worse and worse” myth more times than can be counted. For example, he recently wrote,
[T]his type of thinking prevails more than one would think. Jan Markell is a believer in an end-time scenario that demands the return of Jesus in our generation to rescue us from inevitable doom. Until that happens, do not look for and do not expect to be successful at any type of long-term societal transformation. In fact, to participate in this type of work Markell tells her audience is “delusional” and will keep “people out of heaven.” We are most fortunate that there were enough people centuries ago who were not hoodwinked by an eschatological claim like hers. What would Christians who follow Markell’s end-time worldview be saying and doing today if they were faced with calls to abolish the slave trade and build long-lasting productive cultures? Markell uses 2 Timothy 3:13 to support her end-time claims:
There is no Biblical support for this belief, for the Bible teaches just the opposite. In the end of days, bad things will wax worse and worse until the world calls out for a savior.
Second Timothy 3:13 actually says, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (KJV). For twenty centuries, billions of people have called out to Jesus to be their savior and have gone on to do marvelous things in God’s name. It says nothing about “until the world calls out for a savior.” Earlier in the same chapter, Paul told Timothy that these evil people “will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, as also that of those two [Jannes and Jambres] came to be” (v. 8). While the ungodly self-destruct, Timothy was to “continue in the things” he had “learned and become convinced of” (v. 14). Providentially, the history of the church is the history of men and women following Paul’s instructions and not the speculations of people like Markell.
I would love to think JMac is making some changes for the better, but as I discussed previously, this is not the case. Even if it were true in regard to God’s law, it would not matter because this eschatology robs any good social theory of its power. Any appeal for greater influence of Christianity in society is dead in the face of a belief that it can’t and won’t happen, and premillennialism’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon.
You are correct if you think you hear some echoes of Reconstruction in sermons like these, but you need to take the next step. Start reading specific applications, start making specific applications yourself, and dump the unbiblical, pessimistic eschatology. The longer you remain in it, the worse and worse your worldview will get.