This Sunday kicked off the beginning of Advent. While the season is generally seen as a time of preparing to celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas, the focus historically was a time to focus on Jesus’ Second Coming.
The doctrine of Jesus’ Second Coming has traditionally been a major focus of Christian theology: it has been a driving force for missions, it was a source of hope for suffering Christians, it helped to frame Christian worship.
American evangelicals in particular have been shaped by discussion of Jesus’ return—apocalyptic expectation helped to shape the early fundamentalist movement more than 100 years ago. Baby Boomer evangelicalism has been especially focused on the End Times, from Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth of the 70’s to the Left Behind novels of the 90’s.
But it seems increasingly rare to us to hear about the Second Coming these days. This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to talk about why that might be and why a strong understanding of the Second Coming can serve us well as we navigate the pandemic and other crises.
Vince Bacote is associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College. He has been serving as a theology adviser for Christianity Today over the last year and is a contributor to our Advent devotional, “Living Hope,” which you can find on our website this week.
Bacote joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss why Christians aren’t talking about the Second Coming as much these days, how these conversations can serve us during the pandemic, and what responsibly talking about the End Times looks like.
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