In business, culture, End Times teaching, sin, Bible study, and many other topics, American Christians seem to be caught up in surviving rather than thriving. Sometimes, Christians teach that we “escape” hardship. Other times, Christians teach that we are “mostly oppressed” during hardship. Rarely do we see a theme of “thriving in the midst” of turmoil. Rarely do we see a theme of “strength in the storm” and “peace within the conflict”. Perhaps our modern theology would be more accurate if we developed our beliefs from tornadoes and tropical storms: The eye is calm.
Whether Pre-Trib Rapture or Post-Trib Rapture theology, Christians seem to presume that the Church is the “surviver” in the End Times rather than the conquerers, who defeat injustice and mass genocide. Most Pre-Trib explanations believe that God’s judgment in the presence of the Church would be “punishing the Church”. But those teachers forget that Israel was in Egypt during the plagues, though Israel did not experience the plagues.
Most Post-Trib Rapture theology presents a scene where Christians experience extreme hardship, barely surviving. Such teachings rarely depict the Church as the “tired champion” after the victory battle. At most, Post-Trib Rapture beliefs portray Christians as the “happy refugees” or as “constantly on the run”.
In truth, even through martyrdom, the Church has victory, not survival. There is no survival in the Bible’s explanation of End Times: Only victory for the cause of world-wide justice and defeat for the world-wide cause of oppression—no “surviving”. While Phil Keagee’s song, “The Survivor” uses the same term, his song is not about “surviving”, but about hope and victory. The problem is not with using the word “survive”; the problem is with “surviving” being the goal, rather than “victory against darkness”.
The Church is the instrument of the Lord, His tool, His working partner, etc. The Church does not merely “receive” passively from the Lord, but engages in the Lord’s cause against evil. This happens through prayer and obeying the practical, useful commands of the Lord. While the Church does not rely on carnal weapons and earthly agendas, it plays an active role. The Church is not merely entertained or served while the Lord does all the work. Though, that is a false notion many have fallen into.
Christian passivity, defeatism, survivalism, and fear are one in the same problem. The same problem also relates to the Lordship and Grace Theology debate. Both Lordship and Grace theologies presume passivity and that God’s rules have no working-practical benefit. Grace emphasizes the forgiveness of God, without giving much stage time to the wisdom, prosperity, and, thus, victory that comes from obeying God. Lordship emphasizes the authority of God, without giving much stage time to the wisdom, prosperity, and, thus, victory that comes from obeying God. Both believe that God’s commands lead to victory, but they don’t emphasize it.
If we emphasize the wisdom of God’s rules, that they lead to “thriving in the storm” and “victory over darkness”, then Lordship and Grace followers could end their debates. And, they would also understand the active role that Christians play in the world, whether in business, family, conquering the plague of deathly sin, and the End Times.
Our positions along our bipolar theology debates are not as important as whether we see through the rose-colored glasses of “survivalism” or if we see with the clear vision of engaging the victory.