Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Thu Oct 16 2008 - 22:18:06 EDT

Greetings Ed,

I think there's a vast gulf between regarding the resurrection as the
question of essential consequence, and an attitude of 'why bother studying
this particular question at all?' That hasn't been on display here as near
as I can see. If anything that attitude has been one of a willingness to
cede that some or many of the early disciples may have been hoping for /
expecting a sooner return of Christ, while pointing out that even if this
was the case it was far from a cornerstone of their belief or ministry.

I also think if we're going to call Voltaire and British deists
'theologians', we're getting into "fast and loose with terminology"
territory. Also, keep in mind that there are a number of themes ongoing in
this discussion - a particular point being whether Christ Himself taught a
rapid and soon return, and whether the disciples (for a number of reasons)
could have believed in as much. The former is a claim that's in dire need of
more support than has been given here. The latter is still, in my opinion,
controversial but more possible, while at the same time being of vastly less

At the end of the day, what we see is ample evidence that - whatever the
early disciples and Christians may have thought about the timing of Christ's
return - 'soon', even if it was thought to be so snf certain (and that
itself is to me a far from proven claim for me) was not essential to their
belief. Far weaker is the claim that Christ Himself taught a certain early
return - as far as one gets is an understanding of the ever-existing
possibility of a return. Too many hoops and 'what ifs' have to be jumped
through and accepted to even approach such an idea. But that leaves us with,
at best, the possibility the disciples were mistaken on a timeframe - and
since the disciples aren't (at least in any tradition I know of) held to a
standard of infallibility, it becomes a point of as much interest as
anything biblical, but otherwise not as dire as some would try to insist.

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Received on Thu Oct 16 22:18:22 2008

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