Eschatology. View of the End Times. These terms mean pretty much the same thing in a strict dictionary-definition-type understanding. But in popular usage, they have really different meanings, as far as I’m concerned. When someone talks about eschatology, I think of systematic theologians and seminarians and books I find in The Archives Bookshop or the Fuller Seminary Bookstore that cost an arm and a leg because only a few hundred people will ever buy them. When someone talks about the End Times, I think of TBN, Hal Lindsey, and The Left Behind series. Given my biases, it is no surprise I prefer the term eschatology (in fact I’m shocked I just put up links to TBN and Hal Lindsey). But it’s too showy and esoteric of a word. It sounds pretentious in normal conversation. People squint their eyes when I say “eschatology” and I can tell they’re thinking, “I don’t know that word; should I know that word?” On the other hand, I’ve seen eyes get wide and concerned when I’ve said “End Times” and I can tell people are thinking I’m going to produce some chart or timeline, or tell them that we have to support the state of Israel no matter what. We need a better term. I would say I would want to recapture End Times, but that term has been so abused through bad biblical interpretation and theology in my opinion, that I’d rather not bother. I’m just spouting thoughts here. Does anyone know a better term to use?
On a different note, Tall Skinny Kiwi has a great post on the Missio Dei, “the Mission of God.” Well worth the read, unlike the above paragraph. Plus the post has one of the best emoticons I’ve ever seen. (I’m generally not a huge fan of them.)