Election, Racism, and Millennial Views

In the next three posts, I’d like to address two accusations of racism that crop up when discussing different views of the millennium.  One of these accusations is common; the other less so.  One is legitimate; the other not.  Together, they form an interesting contrast, and a useful point of departure for considering what’s really important in eschatology — and what is not so important.

The common accusation is leveled against premillennialists, based on their view that Israel has a privileged place in the kingdom.  The argument goes that God has made all one in Christ, and since there is no more Jew and Gentile in the Church, neither can there be any such distinction in the Kingdom.  To maintain such a distinction is therefore racist.

The irony is that the people who accuse premillennialists of racism are nearly always covenantal, Reformed theologians.  They are Calvinists.  They have accepted already that God chooses who goes to heaven (and, at least implicitly, who does not).  They are quite all right with this, and indeed will get very indignant on God’s behalf if someone dares to challenge God’s right to have mercy on whom He wills.

So, adding it all up, it’s perfectly all right to maintain that God chooses who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, but it’s racist to maintain that God chooses who has a position of prominence in the kingdom.

Come again?

“Well, come on,” they will want to say, “The one choice is for God’s sovereign ends, and the other is just based on familial descent.”  To which one could reply with a hearty “So what?”  If God has mercy on whom He wills, and He wills to have mercy on the seed of Abraham — not exactly a novel concept — then who are we to gainsay His choice?  Does not the potter have power over the clay?

Of course, there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the church, in a certain sense.  But then, in exactly that same sense (and taken from the same sentence in Galatians 3:28), there is neither male nor female either.  Yet God reaffirms gender distinctions and distinct roles for the genders in the Church now, and — since Jesus remained a “he” after the resurrection, and not an androgyne — God will maintain different genders in eternity.  We will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but we will be male and female.  So where’s the problem with being, in a similar sense, Jew and Gentile? And come to think of it, where’s the fulfillment of passages like Deuteronomy 32:43 or Revelation 22:2 unless there are identifiable Gentiles?

This is not racism, it’s the biblical doctrine of election worked out in the history of the nations.

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