On Eschatology and Politics
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Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 09:37:53 AM EST

Thanks to Fred and Jonathan for challenging the extremist rhetoric directed at me from Chris Ortiz (and thanks to Chris for toning it down a bit in response).   Having written a blog about a new theological emphasis emanating from Southern Seminary, a Baptist institution, I was surprised to find that the most vehement response to my blog came from the Chalcedon Foundation.  This might be an indication of yet another convergence between Baptist thinking and Reconstructionist thought - but what thought or idea, exactly, is at the point of the convergence?
At the moment, my best guess is that the "full quiver" theology emanating from Southern Seminary is converging with the "post-millennial" eschatology of Christian Reconstructionism.  

"Post-millennialism" is not new in Southern Baptist theology.  By 1979 (when the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention began), however, it had been thoroughly eclipsed by C.I. Schoffield's  "dispensational pre-millennialism" as popularized by Hal Lindsey.  In fact, a major undercurrent within the takeover movement was outrage at the "liberalism" of seminary professors who espoused an "a-millennial" eschatology instead of some form of "pre-millenialism."  As far as I know, twenty-five years ago no noteworthy "living" Southern Baptist was arguing for post-millennialism.  Now, thanks to influence of Christian Reconstructionism, we may be witnessing the renewal of post-millennial eschatology among Southern Baptists.

Different Christian views of the millennium can have political implications.  The pessimistic outlook of pre-millennialism can easily lead to a nuclear holocaust if it becomes the ideology that guides the diplomacy of modern politics in the Middle East.  The optimistic outlook of post-millennialism can lead to a theocracy if Christian Dominionists can outbreed the heathen and work to subdue them.  While an a-millennialism that understands the Kingdom of God to be a "spiritual" kingdom, rather than a "political" kingdom, can live in peace with people of other religious convictions and treat those of different faiths with mutual respect.

I think Mohler and Moore and others in the SBC are attracted to the "intellectualism" or "bookism" of the various conservative/orthodox reformed/presbyterian movements. The question is why are these movements growing? Why are so many families choosing to homeschool their children? Why have SBC leaders abandoned the best aspects of their Baptist heritage?

by Carlos on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 11:51:53 AM EST

Those little "Prairie Muffins" are cute until they grow up, get elected as State Representatives, and start passing Dominionist legislation.

I wouldn't be surprised if some current state legislators in Texas and Oklahoma might have been a little "prairie muffins" once.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 12:09:35 PM EST

Actually, I think Reconstructionists prefer simple stones.  

The "muffins" might be trained to use sling shots as young David wielded when slaying the Philistine Goliath.

I fear, however, that our sarcasm may not do much to further our dialogue with whatever Dominionists may be lurking on this site.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 01:02:27 PM EST

You're right. Sigh.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 03:49:38 PM EST

Talk about a parallel universe... that manifesto is scary! Especially the part about being 'fiercely submissive' to God and hubby. What is this- a Dom/sub kind of thing?

I have an apron and know how to use it, too. (Great for flicking at miscreant felines!) And I have a brain, and definitely know how to use it!

I think that the main difference between me and a PM is that I keep my home for me, not for anyone else. If that makes me selfish, so be it.

There but for the grace of God, exceptionally good luck, and some very astute diversionary tactics, go I...

by Lorie Johnson on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 03:26:19 PM EST

Witness the Prairie Muffin Manifesto

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Meanwhile, here is one "Prairie Muffin" sympathizer's website. It is instructive for those who haven't much looked at this movement : the Christian ( full blown reconstructionist or at least in sympathy ) homeschooling movement is the farthest thing from shallow, humorless, or even overtly doctrinaire. "Prairie muffins" - take note - are parodying themselves. Consciously. There is strength in that - they're secure enough in their chosen lifestyles to do that - and I think those who value pluralist democracy would do well to contemplate this nightmare : well raised ( if occasionally beaten, but not all by any means would be - or even the majority ) children, loved, well cared for and tenderly instructed as to the evils of liberals, secularism, and religious pluralism and brought up to believe that it is their sacred duty to enter politics and the military in order to achieve Christian theocracy.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 03:57:04 PM EST

Dr. Prescott,

When I was a student at Baptist Bible College in the mid 50s, Dr. Noel Smith, editor of the Baptist Bible Tribune used to regularly rail against the post-millennialists and modernists in the SBC. It was my undestanding that men like J. Frank Norris, Chester Tulga, T. T. Shields and others left the American Baptists and the SBC in the 20s and 30s because of what they perceived as modernism in both associations. Their departure led to the formation of groups like the Baptist Bible Fellowship, Conservative Baptist and the General Association of Regular Baptists.

As to pre-millennialists, Gary North has said something to the effect that a politically active pre-millennialist is a pro forma post-millennialists.

Many pre-millennialists have been neutralized in their pre-millennial zeal for Christ's return by their political activities as exampled by Jerry Falwell who has said many times he does not want to argue about eschotology since no one really knows when Christ will return so he might as well do what he can to make the earth, in his view, a better place.

by JerrySloan on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 04:32:40 PM EST

I had not heard the quote from North about politically active pre-mill's, but he's right.  They are pro-forma post-mill's.

Thanks for the info.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 05:33:32 PM EST

There is one other name I would like to add to the Fundamentalist giants I mentioned above. . Robert Ketchum. He along with the others I have mentioned was partially responsible for the spread of Fundamentalism between 1920 to 1970.

J. Frank Norris was the most colorful of the four and may have given birth to the megachurch.  In fact he pastored two churches at the same time although they were located 1200 miles apart, the First Baptist Church in Ft. Worth and the Temple Baptist Church in Detroit. Total membership between the two churches was 25,000. He gave away balloons, gold fish, held contests, anything to get people into Sunday School. The First Baptist in the late 50s was running upward to 3000 in Sunday School each time as was the Temple Baptist in Detroit.

At one point he shot and killed a man in his office at First Baptist. The murder was ruled self defense.

Another time he was pushing his deacons for a new First Baptist Church building and the deacons were reluctant to do it and lo and behold the church burnt down.

In 1950 a group of young preachers whom he had mentored felt he was getting too autocratic and did what Baptists do -- broke away and formed the Baptist Bible Fellowship, a group which again specialized in large Sunday Schools long before we heard of megachurches.

In the 50s the Fundamental Baptist and the Pentecostal was very low on the religious totem pole but Fundamentalist and the Pentecostals have pushed forward regardless of scandal or unpopularity and now dominate the religious picture in America today

by JerrySloan on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 06:23:55 PM EST

Hi, there. I am the owner of the blog linked above, decribed as an "instructive" one in "contemplate (ing) this nightmare : well raised (if occasionally beaten, but not all by any means would be - or even the majority ) children, loved, well cared for and tenderly instructed as to the evils of liberals, secularism, and religious pluralism and brought up to believe that it is their sacred duty to enter politics and the military in order to achieve Christian theocracy.)

I am a homeschooling mother, a Jew by birth who is now a reformed Presbyterian, and also an artist. I would not, I think, be considered a fundamentalist.

My children are not beaten, nor are they brought up to believe that it is their sacred duty to enter politics (I am a non-voting free-market libertarian and completely reject political solutions), nor are they encouraged to enter the military, because barring the most aggressive militaristic attack on our country, I am completely anti-war, and would actually be horrified if any of my children wanted to be in the military voluntarily.

Regarding the idea of theonomy and reconstructionism, Prairie-Muffinism and Patriarchy, I will be making a full entry about these things, plus more info, probably, about the issue of the military and politics. Hopefully I can do this by tomorrow evening.

Blessings to you.


The Home Realm (My Blog)

Eclectic Domestic Emporium (My Art Site)

by sammycakes on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:36:14 PM EST

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