04 Feb John Piper on the theological results of realized eschatology
The title of this video discussion by John Piper is “Why I Abominate the Prosperity Gospel”. But his discussion also includes a critique of an eschatology embraced by large segments of the Church today. While many will readily agree with Piper that the Gospel is not about guaranteeing that Christians become rich in this life, they may not feel so comfortable with the reality that God also does not guarantee our physical healing in this age. Whether it be the claim that we are promised health or wealth in this age, both views are rooted in the same unbiblical eschatology. It is near the later half of the message, where Piper nails the issue on the head, stating that the source of the problem is “realized eschatology”. Realized eschatology holds that the Kingdom of God is an invisible, spiritual reality, fully functioning now, as opposed to a very real, substantial, physical, earthly, future kingdom, wherein Jesus will rule the nations from Jerusalem. The problem lies in the fact that once one claims that the Kingdom is a spiritual reality now, they will then most often make efforts to appropriate many, or all of the promises of the age to come, claiming that these are guaranteed to us now. Beyond claiming that all believers are guaranteed health and wealth now, many will even make efforts to appropriate the “government of God” in our midst. So whether it be the false prosperity gospel, the false health gospel, the “seven-mountain mandate”, dominionism, or any other number of unbiblical theologies or concepts, they are all rooted in the false theology of a “kingdom-now” realized eschatology. Now for clarity, I am not claiming that healing does not take place today. Of course not. I hold to a Charismatic theology, affirming the ongoing presence of miraculous gifts among God’s people. We have the Holy Spirit in us, who is a deposit, a down-payment, a guarantee of what is to come. And through the Holy Spirit in us, we will see God, according to His sovereign will, bear witness to our message by releasing miraculous physical healing. But it happens when and how He chooses, not according to any guaranteed promise of healing in this age. In this age, our life is to be cruciform, patterned after the cross and the example of Jesus, not triumphant. The triumph comes after suffering, in the age to come.