Some of you may have heard of Randy Alcorn. He's a pretty prolific author of Christian books, from novels to various issues and ethics topics, to books about "heaven." He was also very influential in the pro-life movement in Oregon throughout the 80's and 90's, and impacted the national debate with his book entitled "Pro-life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments," which is still in my view one of the best resources available on the subject. But before he wrote all those books, he was a first-time Bible College professor, and I was an 18 yr old in his class. That was a while ago. But the class I took from him, "Bible Study Methods," was one of my favorites that year, and if I just go by stuff I still *remember* and actually *use* from that education, it is hands down *still* my favorite.
So, today he posted this quote from Augustine with a short commentary on his public blog, and I wanted to note a few things in response:
Randy Alcorn: “Augustine wrote, "He loves Thee too little who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for Thy sake." God, the source of all beauty and delight, is the fountainhead of joy—everything else that triggers joy is a lesser stream that finds its source in Him. We enjoy a sunset, a river, a good meal, sex in marriage, laughter with our friends…and in enjoying them we should be enjoying God (Psalm 16:11).”
This triggered some connections for me. First, Ward's very excellent article on the purpose of creation, which you can read here (and I strongly recommend you do). But primarily I wanted to focus for a moment on the Scripture Randy referenced, Psalm 16:11:
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
So...can a futurist really apply all these benefits and experiences of resurrection and heaven (ie, God's presence) to their present time? Whether they are applying these word pictures metaphorically *or* literally, they are applying them *prematurely*, according to their paradigm of redemption, and the timing of its fulfillment.
And it struck me as ironic in a way, that as preterists we get accused of making the Bible irrelevant to our day? By honoring the time statements? And yet, we have way more Scriptures to apply to our lives right now, than any futurist has any hope of doing. Anytime soon.
(with due respect to one of my favorite teachers)