coming home

If you’re able to make it, consider attending the national meeting of The Gospel Coalition next April 13-15 in Orlando. The theme this year is one that strangely warms my heart, and I’m not even Wesleyan. The title is “Coming Home: New Heaven and New Earth.”

The phrase “new heaven and new earth” raises an interesting question about our final home. The term “new” implies that something will be different and “heaven and earth” implies that something will remain the same. I expect this will be a main talking point at the conference, if the endorsements on the bottom of the website are any indication. Two of them, Tim Keller and Randy Alcorn, emphasize the continuity between this life and the next. And two, D. A. Carson and John Piper, emphasize discontinuity.

Tim Keller writes, “Christians live in the hope of knowing that the entire physical creation will be renewed into a perfect world without pain and death.”

Randy Alcorn adds, “If there is a new Jerusalem, why not a new Los Angeles? Why not a new Chicago, a new Paris a new London?”

In contrast, John Piper says, “God will make our relationship with him new and glorious.”

D. A. Carson writes, “We don’t treasure heaven much because we don’t have a right understanding of what the Bible actually says about heaven.”

Elsewhere on the site Carson elaborates on why this theme was chosen for this year, and each of his six points emphasize the discontinuity between this life and the next. I’m on the record siding with Keller and Alcorn on this one, though I appreciate the creeping liberalism that Carson warns us against. It should be a fascinating conversation, and I’m looking forward to it. Come on down if you can.

3 Comments

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  1. Church Leadership asked me to go to this conference (I’m a teaching member). The major theme of the conference seems to be eschatology – or at least includes many eschatological themes. I am of the partial preterist, postmillenial persuasion similar to Douglas Wilson. Are you aware of any speakers in the sessions or workshops that are postmil leaning? I do want to be challenged and edified by other viewpoints, but I would find it discouraging if there was zero postmil representation. Was wondering what your take on that would be. Kind regards (and I’m a big fan of your articles BTW).

  2. Jordan: I don’t know the position of the other speakers, but I’m guessing the vast majority are either amill or premill. I would guess at least a couple would be postmill, as I know Doug Wilson would be considered a friend of TGC. Personally, I’m premill because I can’t accept a non-physical resurrection in Rev. 20:4, but I appreciate both the amill and postmill perspectives. I tell my students that we need to hear the postmill voice, even if we don’t ultimately land there. I also say that each view has difficulties, and the best way to get someone to agree with your position is to teach all of the others. Also, if events in the world are perceived to improve, we’ll see the postmill bandwagon fill up fast.

  3. Thanks for the response!

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