Does your church doctrinal statement take a detailed stand on Eschatology?

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What do I mean by “detailed” stand. I do not mean inclusion of heaven and hell and judgment. It is a given that almost all good churches would include those things in their doctrinal statement. But by fairly detailed, I mean a specific view on the Millennium and by very detailed an even more specific view about the timing of the Rapture in relation to the Tribulation (for those of us who believe in the Tribulation).

Please feel free to comment as to whether this doctrinal statement is too specific, not specific enough, or just right (sounds like the 3 Bears Smile )

Also, feel free to comment on the difference between the ideal statement and parameters for inter-church co-operation with those who differ on some points. For example, you may hold a pretrib view, but have no trouble fellowshipping/co-operating with a post-trib group (I am in that category).

Discussion will probably make or break the relevance of this poll, so please discuss away!

Poll Results

Does your church doctrinal statement take a detailed stand on Eschatology?

My church’s doctrinal statement is NOT very detailed about eschatology Votes: 8
My church’s doctrinal statement is fairly detailed about eschatology. Votes: 9
My church’s doctrinal statement is very detailed about eschatology Votes: 9
Other Votes: 1

(Migrated poll)

0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 0


His personal coming in the air for His church prior to the seven year tribulation, and His return to earth at the close of the tribulation to establish His millennial Kingdom…

Concerning Future Events

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked. Those who are righteous will enter into eternal bliss with Christ and those who are wicked will be lost forever (1). We believe that the Scriptures teach that at death the spirit and soul of the believer pass into the presence of Christ and remain in conscious joy until the resurrection of the body when Christ comes for His own (2). The blessed hope of the believer is the imminent, personal, pretribulational, premillennial appearance of Christ to rapture the Church, His bride, prior to the seventieth week of Daniel (3). God’s righteous judgments will then be poured out upon an unbelieving world during the seven years of tribulation (4). The climax of this fearful era will be the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth in great glory to reestablish the Davidic kingdom (5). Israel will be saved and restored as a nation (6). Satan will be bound, and the curse essentially will be lifted from the physical creation (7). Following this thousand-year reign of Christ (the Millennium), the Great White Throne Judgment will occur, at which time the bodies and souls of the wicked shall be reunited and cast into the lake of fire, a divinely appointed place of eternal torment (8). The saved will enter the city which God has prepared for His own and will live with the Lord in resurrected and glorified bodies (9).

Some places where taught: (1) Mal. 3:18; John 3:16-18. (2) I Cor. 15:51-57; II Cor. 5:8. (3) I Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13. (4) Rev. 6:17. (5) Rev. 19:11-20:6. (6) Rom. 11:26-27. (7) Is. 35:1-7. (8) Rev. 20:7-15. (9) Phil. 3:20-21; Rev. 21:1-3.

It is interesting to note that detailed statements on eschatology in a church’s doctrinal statement only started appearing in the 20th Century. Were there any pre-mill, pre-trib declarations prior to early 1900’s?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Eschatology was a neglected field until the late 19th century. Charles Hodge, for example, included this rather amazing statement in his Systematic about the Second Coming of Christ:

The subject cannot be adequately discussed without taking a survey of all the prophetic teachings of the Scriptures both of the Old Testament and of the New. This task cannot be satisfactorily accomplished by any one who has not made the study of the prophecies a specialty. The author, knowing that he has no such qualifications for the work, purposes to confine himself in a great measure to a historical survey of the different schemes of interpreting the Scriptural prophecies relating to this subject,” (3:790).

I can’t imagine a scholar saying something like that in a modern work:

“Here we’re gonna talk about the end-times. I don’t know much about it, though, because prophesy is really hard. So, we’ll just do historical theology instead!”

Hodge went on to argue that everybody has always understood prophesy wrong prior to fulfillment, and that we usually only “get it” with the benefit of hindsight. Thus, prophesy is valuable because it gives us the brute facts of an issue, but the details are very fuzzy and will always remain that way. Basically, Hodge throws up his hands and says that the Scripture is too murky on prophesy to make heads or tails of the details.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

I see implied in this op the question of whether a doctrinal statement should contain a detailed eschatology. I’m undecided. I would like it to be so, however, while this is an important topic, it is not an essential topic… and therefore not something to divide over.

I believe in a pre-trib rapture - but such is not the view of every strong intelligent believer. I believe those others are wrong, but what if I am the one who is wrong? If one day I find myself within the tribulation, would that cause me to doubt my salvation or any essential Christian belief? No. It would merely cause me to reconsider my eschatology.

However, if you have a doctrinal statement that includes a specific end-time view, and it happens that that view does not come to pass, will that become a stumbling block for weaker Christians, leading them to doubt the other parts of the statement of faith?

Andrew Bernhardt

Andy, I think believers will have plenty to stumble over in the Tribulation besides an error in eschatology. When believers’ lives are at stake, it is amazing how “bare bones” we become.

I don’t think many of us put as much weight of conviction into our end times map as we do into the fundamentals; churches, however, find a narrower fellowship beyond the fundamentals, and I think this can be good. For example, I believe in perseverance (eternal security), and I wouldn’t want my children taught otherwise in our church, but this is not a fundamental. I can fellowship with those who do not embrace security, but I am more stringent about what is taught in our congregation.

Although I am pretrib, I don’t mind other views taught loosely regarding the tribulation, but I do believe an exalted future for Israel and a literal millennium are where I draw the line.

"The Midrash Detective"

“I’d die for the doctrine of justification by faith but, other than the fact that Jesus is coming back, I wouldn’t take a paper cut on points of eschatology.”

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan