10 February 2010

The Golden Age

by Frank Turk

I dunno about you, but I have had a Hard. Week.

And that, for about three weeks now. God bless us to be busy rather than not (because I have also been unemployed for 18 months, and I wouldn't wish that on anybody), but "busy" will wear you out -- especially when it takes you off your spiritual gain.

It's weeks like this which make me think about the Golden Age of the church -- because, as many of you will testify, the local church is not in a golden age. It's probably not even in a plastic disposable age at this point. And as such, it often falls short of meeting our spiritual needs -- unlike the church of the Golden Age.

The church of the Golden Age would be full of the love of Christ, right? And full of people who have overcome sin. It would be lead by Christ and by men just like Him. And when I have a lousy day that lasts for weeks (or months), that church would be there for me all the time.

And wow: would the church of the Golden Age have good doctrine. The teaching there would be from like one who has authority -- not just lip service, not just translations from the Greek and Hebrew, not just lessons about how to live our lives. The doctrine of the church of the Golden Age would both humble us and lift us up so that we could be both servants of Christ and also his brothers and sisters all gaining the inheritance of the Father in eternal life.

It's weeks like this which I really long for the church of the Golden Age. But this week I wanted to remind all of you -- because I myself needed reminding -- that the church of the Golden Age is not past.

The church of the Golden Age is still coming. It has never yet been here, but in it our hope lies.

It's on days like today, in weeks like my last three weeks, that I look to that church, and all I can say is, "Please, Lord Jesus: come quickly."


67 comments:

Eric Kaminsky said...

John Piper asks Douglas Wilson if we are in the Golden Age. Wilson: "I suspect" Piper: "Cool" Wilson: "Not"

C.B. Shearer said...

Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. - Hebrews 13:14

David said...

Praise God for the gangly, pimpled, brace-faced Bride of Christ!

That's not how she'll look forever.

stratagem said...

I totally fell for this and never saw it coming. There I am reading about the Golden Age and I'm thinking, "like, when was that?" Then along comes the zinger that it's in the future. Ah, now it makes sense. We are still in the Base Metal Age of the church. Or maybe it's the Bronze Age or Iron Age?
Can't wait for that Golden Age. And I'm not talking about the AARP, either.

DJP said...

I think the church is in a Cellophane Age: paint-thin, noisy, easily-torn.

Frank Turk said...

To see what I'm really thinking here, the subtitle I was toying with for this post was, "or, Why I'm grateful to be a Baptist".

However, I wanted to avoid all the shouting and fist-fights that would have created.

Rob Bailey said...

You don't get gold without the Refiner's fire. Read Malachi. Read Revelation 19.

Citizen Grim said...

Lord, haste the day!

Rob Bailey said...

@djp. sounds cool when you crinckle it up in your hands.

Jugulum said...

Frank, admit it: You're trying to start a fight about the millennium. Or the kingdom of God.

I wonder if any preterists (partial or full) will show up.

CR said...

Sorry about the unemployment situation.

Stuart Wood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
joel said...

Just think of how good the preaching will be in The Golden Age. Amen

Frank Turk said...

Stuart --

This is why you Lutherans idealize the Medieval period rather than see the church as always reforming: you think that the best age of the church has already come, rather than seeing that it as ever coming until Christ returns.

For the record, I am the lonely/only amillennial Pyro (insofar as I am amil at any rate), and even in that I think your little excursis here is simply not compelling. Sorry.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Hey, a point of agreement with lonely Amil Frank! Cool.

On the New Earth, no doubt we will all be walking around with our hands slapping our foreheads about something we believed strongly on the old one.

philness said...

Frank,

I think I get what you are saying. Like, who would have ever thought after 6 days of wrestling in the world looking forward to being with the saints on the 7th day there still is no rest. For even in the Lords house on the Lords day with the Lords people there is yet still conflict and at a deeper level.

lee n. field said...

>that the church of the Golden Age is not past.

But future. Like I didn't see that one coming.

Just read through, in my OT reading, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Two books not likely to give one a rosy view of times past, or times to come short of the consummation.

"But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. "

CR said...

Frank writes: For the record, I am the lonely/only amillennial Pyro snip snip

No one is perfect.

lawrence said...

Despite the short length, probably one of my favorite Pyro posts ever. Well said my man.

Frank Turk said...

CR:

That was a long time ago, but it left a mark. Let me say to anyone who is currently unemployed that God means it for your good, and that is impossible to see unless you (1) Believe the Gospel entirely, and (2) trust that promise until you are on the other side of the matter.

You also have to keep looking for work no matter how you feel today. Remember that the person you were the day before you got let go is still the person you are today -- no matter how long it has been since you were last in the office, warts and all.

Frank Turk said...

DJP:

Well, yeah.

I'm going to get a samwich. Play nice. :-)

Erik Hoffman said...

Just a quick request for a future meta topic, since Frank's topic has already garnered the attention of an amil whom I also suspect might be a bit covenental and perhaps even a preterist.

Any chance of a civil discussion here, (not in this meta, of course), about covenant theology vs dispensationalism? For the record, I am an eclectic mix of being reformed, yet dispensational and premillennial. I say reformed, meaning reformed in my soteriology yet not in my eschatology. I know this moniker is laughable to one who considers himself "truly" reformed, i.e.; covenental/amillenial/partial-preterist, but in my estimation, covenant theology is a pretty phrase to describe what is nothing more than ugly replacement theology.

I am not looking for any discussion about it in this meta as it is not my intention to derail the topic at hand.

stratagem said...

I will admit that despite having studied the various flavors of *millennialism extensively at various times, I still can't get it straight in my mind just what exactly amillennialism is. Post and pre, I get. I just don't understand the other one. I will also admit though that the idea of Jesus coming to Earth triumphant, only to let Satan be unleashed upon it again 1000 years later, seems like a non-sequitur.
I have a mental block when it comes to eschatology. No doubt.

Frank Turk said...

Erik --

We don't really talk about that here because it is even more devisive than actual "Calvinism" -- not to the Pyros (Dan and Phil are entited to be wrong about one thing ever :-) ), but to the world in which we blog.

e-mail me and I'll tell you what I think.

Erik Hoffman said...

Will do. Thanks frank. I guess we should publicly file this one under c:\archive\do_not_open\can_of_worms.exe

I know it's a hot topic, because the folks over at puritanboard rejected my request to become a member.

Well I [b][i]never[/i][/b]! ;)

olan strickland said...

The Golden Age!

Erik Hoffman said...

Huh. I guess html doesn't work when I post from my BlackBerry.

Erik Hoffman said...

What a dummy.That's because I used bbcode and not html. Sorry, I spend too much time in forums I guess, ;)

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Lee N. Field:

Forget Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Try reading Judges or 1 or 2 Kings to be reminded of how bad the sin problem really is!

Frank:

Are you sure we're not in the Disposable Plastic Age?

If you were bored, you could have tried "Why I'm grateful I'm an amillennial Baptist" for your subtitle, but the ensuing comments would have caused the Blogger servers to overheat and burn out.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Frank Turk said...

Olan:

Fundie.

Frank Turk said...

And for the sake of my conscience, DJP was right about Stuart lying about being banned.

I don't want my "well, yeah" comment to go down as a merely-tacit endorsement of Dan's insight.

Bverysharp said...

Johnny, you wrote, "On the New Earth, no doubt we will all be walking around with our hands slapping our foreheads about something we believed strongly on the old one."
That is the truth. This is why we should preach "Christ" the 'whole counsel' as defined by what paul preached in Acts 20:27
"For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."

Not some pre-post-mil-trib teaching that is nothing more than a contest of the mind to wrestle others with and only brings about tension in the body as we are supposed to be working instead of spending hours and years fighting each other. The old saying, 'too many chiefs and not enough braves' comes to mind. Most seem to want to be the chief of some belief system and not just a mere brave for Christ.

joel said...

Bverysharp,
Very good. In that vain I suggest we also eliminate teaching on, baptism, the virgin birth, the age of the earth, and any other tangential doctrines that cause needless confusion and tension the church.

Stuart Wood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frank Turk said...

I like it that Stuart will repeatedly call me a heretic and a beast, and then deny it when I point it out.

Watch ...

Stuart Wood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Ah yes, Stuart has helpfully pointed out that I had erred on the side of grace with him.

While he lied that he was "banned for speaking the truth about the one and only saving Gospel, how that 'Christ died for our sins' (1 Cor. 15:1-4)," he is indeed banned at present, for reasons explained on this thread.

On that thread, I had said that any comment not a fulfillment of the conditions laid out on that meta would be deleted.

I have erred by not remembering that exact statement, and for that I apologize.

So to keep my word, since Stuart chose never to fulfill the conditions on that thread (and it would be off-topic on this one anyway if he suddenly chose to do so), I'll now keep my word and delete Stuart's deliberate violations of the ban from this meta.

Violate that provisional ban again, Stuart, and it will become a permanent ban.

Back to Frank's post.

DJP said...

...and related comments except Frank's, which I leave to him.

DJP said...

Oh! look! Frank wrote a post!

Great post, Frank!

Rachael Starke said...

Oh. Dear.

Frank, I love the general idea of this (even as I panicked at "the church is not in a golden age" line). And I think your comment about how to rest in our identity in Christ when we're walked out of the office building is worthy of a whole series.

But brothers, if this meta turns into another free for fall like last week, you'll not only be proving Frank's main point, but you'll make this Lady Pyro reader cry.

I'm only sort of kidding.

Rachael Starke said...

Yay Dan! Look at that. Now I'm smiling again.

Frank Turk said...

Rachel --

We can't have that.

David said...

That would be

pre - post - a - rous.

5ptsalt said...

Ambiguous. Define 'Golden Age'? Are you talking millennialism here?

Sir Aaron said...

Frank, I rather enjoy your encouragements. Nearly every Sunday morning while I'm still heavy with sleep, your posts about making sure you spend the Lord's day in the Lord's house with the Lord's people seem to ramble through my thoughts and ultimately motivate me to get up. (I know I should be excited to go anyways, but I usually need some caffeine to get excited about anything before 8AM.)

Anyways, just wanted to say Thank You.

Frank Turk said...

5ptsalt --

That really is my point, 5pt. The way you define the Golden Age is how you really define our faith.

olan strickland said...

Frank:

Olan:

Fundie.


Yes, it's true dear brother! I'm a premill, things are going to get worse not better, until the Lord comes, fundie.

But I love my amillenial brothers just the same. We both believe in a "golden age" but with different views on how it will be brought about.

Brad Williams said...

I am currently undergoing a eschatological reboot. It is painful. The peeps at my church demanded that I teach through Daniel. I was saving making a definitive decision on chapter 9 until just before I died.

Oh well. All I have to say is Noun-antecedent agreement has really messed up my happy world. That, and teaching through Isaiah and finding people dying in the "Golden Age" (Is. 65:20).

I'm currently looking for a house in the historic premil. neighborhood. There are too many crazy uncles in the dispy premil one I was raised in.

No offense, Dan. :)

DJP said...

Sure, no doubt it's very tempting. You get to respect yourself on Revelation 20, but still get to make anything else mean whatever you want.

And bonus: you're historical!

:^P

Bverysharp said...

Joel,
It isn't quit that easy. I wasn't suggesting not teaching nor should what I wrote be lumped in with the extremely important aspects of 'The Faith'. I was suggesting that we stop 'camping' on certain issues that shouldn't define the faith.
The virgin birth defines the faith.
The same faith that Paul preached in the full counsel of God.
If someone says they don't believe the virgin birth, then they need to be brought back to the faith.
If someone says they believe
( fill in your pre-post understanding of the events that will happen TO the true church )
then they don't need to be brought into the faith nor do they need to be placed in other camps to ridcule or spend endless hours arguing those details that you probably wouldn't change your opinion on nor would I.
I hope you clearly see the difference in what I wrote and what you are thinking I am now suggesting we stop teaching period? The right understanding of baptism? That is part of the faith, you are not saved by it or it wouldn't be faith. Paul didn't baptise everyone that expressed the belief of the faith so therefore it does need it's right understanding in the body. Again, that is about the faith, not the extra events post faith.
I hope that clarifies any misunderstanding on your part or me not clearly writing what I wanted to express better. A writer I am not, yet I am aware words mean things. Thanks for letting me clarify.
?

joel said...

Bverysharp,
Just having a little fun with you ;-)

Bverysharp said...

Joel,
No problem, i misunderstood.
Thanks for the response.

Frank Turk said...

In spite of the mania which inspired the dog-leg into *millennialism, this post is not about a calendar.

It's about the one who is the beginning and the end, and we who are his people.

There's encouragement in that.

joel said...

Where is the argument in that?

David said...

Amen, Frank.

AussieAndy said...

Frank - good encouragements re using unemployment for God's purposes. I have been unemployed for nearly as long as you, and despite having postgrad studies to change directions it is hard - far harder than busyness of full time employment to keep up hope.
It is easy to believe and trust in the providence of God when you are in a place of plenty than when you are in the desert.
I pray that God would bring all unemployed pyros through and that we would learn and lean on God's goodness.

Susan said...

I had a pretty bad couple of weeks, too, Frank, and apparently the Lord heard the prayers of a friend of mine on my behalf, and things are slowly getting back on track. Thank God for fellowship between believers! (I can't even imagine how good it would be in the Golden Age!)

Steve Scott said...

Frank,

I can truly empathize with your situation. My. Hard. Week. is now three years long, and I've been out of work a year now. I haven't come out the other side yet, so I'm not going to be much of a comforter.

Baseball's golden age was in the 50's, football's in the 70's, and the golden age of the church probably a way's off in my post-mil scheme.

Frank Turk said...

Post-Millennialism:

All Gospel and no Bible.




Now THAT should get the meta flying off the handle.

stratagem said...

Frank
I don't know if this falls into the camp of flying off the handle, but what exactly do you think the millennium(s) refer to, in the Bible? Personally I have no opinion on it, so this isn't a challenge of any kind, I'm just interested in what you think. Eschatology totally confuses me.

joel said...

Now Frank,
I read an lengthy essay by Loraine Boettner on Post-Millennialism and he quoted the bible at least once, maybe even as many as three times.

Frank Turk said...

Strategem:

Periods of time.

Frank Turk said...

Strat:

e-mail me if you want more than that.

Steve Scott said...

"Post-millennialism. All Gospel and no Bible."

Okay, a modified post-millennialism. I believe the Great Commission will actually be a success. How can it not be?

But I know neither of us will feed our families writing about this stuff.

Frank Turk said...

Steve:

There's no sin in optimism about the Gospel -- unless you get so optimistic that you think everything is a tool of the Gospel.

SamWise said...

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (I Cor 13:12)

The Golden Age is the eternal present...seeing darkly now...but then face to face. Jesus is our treasure!

Frank, remember that bad circumstances, persecution, or whatever plaques never changes our position before God if we are "in Christ!"

We are looking "for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:10) Augustine's "City of God"