Sunday, April 6, 2014
An explanation about what Southern Baptists teach about the Final Judgment
Revelation 20:13-15 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
In today's post we want to specifically look at Revelation 20:13-15 and what Southern Baptists teach on the subject of the Final Judgment.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Article on "Last Things"
The portion on "Last Things" in the confessional statement of the Southern Baptist Convention reads:
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Explaining what Southern Baptists Teach
The wording of the article on "Last Things" is purposefully broad and general enough for allowances of differences of interpretation.1 Below is a proposed brief explanation of this statement:
1. God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end.
The article occurs between Article 9 - "The Kingdom" and Article 11 - "Evangelism and Missions", indicating that the fact of final judgment is seen as a motivation for doing missions and warning people of the coming judgment. God is the orchestrator of all things and the purpose of life and history itself is in His hands. 2 Corinthians 5:11 notes - "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences."
2. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness.
Acts 17:30-31 states: "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Jesus' second coming is stated most clearly in this portion of the Baptist Faith and Message. One thing we learn from documents like the Baptist faith and Message is that whatever is deemed more central to that doctrinal truth is stated, whereas other issues are not stated for sake of allowing a variety of positions on that given topic. At bare minimum, three essentials are asserted: Christ's visible bodily return, resurrection of the dead and authority of judgment. On this point the BFM 2000 points us to other scriptures whereby we can study and arrive at conclusions on details beyond what is expressed.
3. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
In passages such as John 5:24-28 Jesus spells out the distinction between the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked. In this final part of the statement we find the focus end specifically on the destiny and eternal state of the righteous. Once again the statement is general and broad enough for various positions to fruitfully co-exist and dialogue between one another while yet being well within the boundary lines of historic, conservative Bible believing Christianity.
1. Readers of this blog can note how in past posts we have dealt with the differing viewpoints on Christ's return and Kingdom reign (i.e where it will be Premillennial, Amillennial or Postmillennial).