Optimism About the Future of the Church

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A doctrinal emphasis that you are very likely to find in CREC churches is, oddly enough, a doctrinal point that is not actually required by any of our approved doctrinal statements. When it comes to the question of eschatology (what will happen at the end of the world), the only thing that the universal church has agreed on thus far is that Jesus Christ will one day return in power and glory to judge “the quick and the dead.” When it comes to all the particular details surrounding and leading up to that glorious event, the broader church has not yet reached a consensus. Some denominations are premillennial dispensationalist, some are historic premillennial, some are amillennial, and so on. Someone once joked that the millennium is a thousand years of peace that Christians like to fight about.

Although it is not a doctrinal requirement of the CREC, our pastors and church leaders are overwhelmingly what is called postmillennial. This is an odd doctrinal position in our day, but there was a time in the history of the Reformed churches when it was much more commonplace, and in this, we are simply returning to our historic roots. What it means, in broad outlines, is that we believe that the preaching of the gospel in the world will be powerful and effective, that the nations will come to Christ in order to be discipled by Him, a golden era of human history will ensue, and that after this (where the “post” comes from), the Lord Jesus will return to destroy the last enemy, death.

If you are not accustomed to this sort of thing, and you attach yourself to a CREC church, the optimism might take some getting used to. When you used to see some outrage on the evening news, you would tell a friend that it’s the “last days,” and what should we expect? But now you have friends telling you that the bad guys can’t keep this kind of folly up forever, and it will soon be time for us to make our move.

As was mentioned just above, this is not a doctrinal requirement for our church leaders, and still less for the members of our churches. But it would be fair to say that it has become a significant part of the culture of the CREC.

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