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Bill Collier, Publisher- What is the real cause of the demise of our culture, which involves moral confusion and depravity, the prevalence of corruption in every major institution, and the rise of authoritarianism, throughout all Western Civilization?
It’s not what you think!
Darbyism and other form of pessimistic millennialism represents the first stage of failure of what was once a mostly Christian civilization, our once noble and ever advancing Western Civilization, and the retreat of men and women of faith from their role as salt and light within a fallen world. This is the root cause of why our culture is a failed culture and why, even in our lifetime, we may see failed states replace our country unless this death spiral is somehow halted.
Darbyism and post-millennialism writ large and taken to literal extremes have undermined this civilization and relegated the church to the corners and edges, with neither economic/political influence nor challenging ideas.
“The imminent return of Christ totally forbids all working for earthly objects distant in time.’ Francis William Newman, Phases of Faith; or, Passages From the History of My Creed (London: George Woodfall and Son, 1850), 35.)*
This idea pervades the western church and has made it easy prey. Its idea of “engagement” and “relevancy” is mostly a marketing ploy to gain parishioners by accommodating their embedded assumptions and sociocultural constructs that contradicts core Christian ethical, moral, and basic doctrinal essentials. The church establishment in most mainline churches, including the Catholic church, has adopted the priorities and sociocultural constructs of the worldlings, with few marked exceptions, such the Catholic stance on abortion.
This reflects the negative eschatology in which it is believed that darkness alone will grow while light recedes and no advances or victories other than the “moral victory” of persecution and martyrdom, are possible until the Return of Christ.
I do not hold to such a negative, passive, eschatology.
If I am wrong but I diligently seek both to be a witness and influence, as salt and light in in proclaiming the Gospel, for Jesus and to build structures and institutions that will reflect the Christian worldview and last for generations, then what harm have I done? At the least, I have occupied until He Comes, and I have been a light in darkness without compromise.
But if I am right and the negative eschatology is wrong, and I say negative because merely waiting passively for the Return while the institutions around you devolve, insures ongoing defeat in this life and a lessening of the Christian witness and presence, then what of that? If you are wrong in your eschatology and you take Darby’s advice and then within 100 years the Christian witness and presence is virtually non-existent, because followers have been cancelled and starved and future generations brainwashed and prevented from even knowing the truth, then what guilt do you bear?
A negative eschatology is the best way for the enemy to triumph and to stamp out our Christian witness and if it is wrong then it is doubly problematic and harmful. But a positive eschatology that propels us to witness, to be an influence, to build our own sociocultural constructs and structures independent of the world, and to seek in our careers and livelihoods allows us to be a witness and influence. If then the end comes suddenly or the darkest days emerge, we have done no harm and have only saved more souls from eternal death.
The discarding of the Darbyist claims and all those that stemmed from them is essential both to the emergence of a Christian civilization and, more importantly, to the preservation of the Christian witness and presence for generations to come.