I find it hard...VERY hard... to have meaningful fellowship with Christians who are OBSESSED with end times.
It's not that they aren't nice people, it's just that it's hard to steer the conversation away from their favourite topic. It's all some Christians want to talk about. Whether it's debating whether Barack Obama is the antichrist or being glued to the TV when anything about Israel comes up in the news, I get thoroughly sick of hearing about it. I don't know whether to be offended or amused when some people just assume I agree with them. If I'm silent, it doesn't mean I agree - it means I don't see any point arguing.
Why is it when I see some people they are always telling me about how they're studying Daniel or Revelation? Umm there are 64 other books in the Bible that are worth a look too.
Oh and don't get me started on the Left Behind series! I don't normally destroy books, but for that I made an exception.
It's funny I'd never even heard of the terms premillennialism or amillennialism until Duncan and I started dating. He was telling me that he knows many strong premillennials and I asked, "A pre-what?"
I came from a church in Perth that spoke very little about the various views on end times. Although my views on the end times probably most closely resemble amillennialism, they can really be summarised in a few points:
- Jesus is coming back one day, but no-one except God the Father knows the date or hour.
- We have been given the task of reaching people with the gospel.
- Therefore, we need to be ready for Jesus' return, but not in an obsessed, star-gazing, current affairs-analysing kind of way. We need to make the most of our time to tell people about Christ because we do not know how long we have.
Although I don't consider myself a hardcore amill, I disagree with the premillennialist view. I think it's a wrong interpretation of Scripture and that we are given glimpses of the future, but cannot say emphatically, "It will happen like THIS."
Having said that, I would never EVER not want to have fellowship with people who have differing end times views. It is not an important issue so it should not cause divisions between Christians and churches. It is not a test of whether someone is a true Christian or not, and it should NOT be a requirement for church membership or choosing a pastor.
I have some great friends who I know have different end times views to what I have (or aren't sure what they believe) and that's fine. It only becomes a problem when divisive, argumentative people come into play who want to make grey areas into black and white ones. It is pointless to split hairs over it because there is a lot we DON'T know.
There are things in which Christians should stand their ground on. I do not believe this issue is one of them.