Friday, May 20, 2011
Will Jesus come back tomorrow?
So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" [Jesus] said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." -Acts 1:6-8
Tomorrow, May 21, 2011, is the date predicted by Harold Camping, an extreme dispensationalist, as when Christ will return (or at least the rapture will occur). He reportedly has predicted the end of the world 10 times since 1978, so this is not new behavior.
The case of those looking for the exact date of Christ's return, the date for the novel concept of the rapture, or the date of judgment day, is a sad case. Christ gave us a privilege, a wonderful responsibility. Not to know the seasons or times, but to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, who John tells us testifies to Christ, and then enables us to be witnesses to the world, of the great work Christ accomplished by his death and resurrection.
Thinking about that, I can tell you that I am happy to be Reformed. Not because it is a source of pride or because all Reformed people are the most pious Christians or the most efficient Christians, but because of what the best of that tradition is about.
I look around and there are many Christians and many Christian traditions, often they are defined by what they focus on and unite around. Some obsess about the end times. Some obsess about the best life now. Some obsess about spiritual gifts and spiritual experience. Some obsess over the church or sacraments. I read the Puritans and Reformed and they obsess about the Gospel. What a wonderful thing to obsess over. To obsess about the Christ and His Gospel and taking it to the end of the world, even if we are very aware of our shortcomings in doing so.
So the case of Harold Camping is a sad one. What if we were known for obsessing over the gospel and Christ?