I might like Pete Rollins on the Apocalypse

Pete Rollins is planning a talk in Belfast in September to explain that The Apocalypse isn’t coming – it’s already happened.

“Fundamentalist Christianity has long expressed a view of apocalypse as some future event that will consume the present world and replace it with a new one. Yet while this is a bloody and destructive vision, I will argue that it is inherently conservative in nature… For those who hold to such a vision are willing to imagine absolutely everything around them changing so that their present values and beliefs can remain utterly unchanged.  In contrast I will argue that a Christian apocalypse describes something much more radical, namely an event that fundamentally ruptures and re-configures our longings, hopes and desires…”

This resonates with me, although I’m waiting to see where Rollins will take it.  If he has not forgotten his Greek, he will oblige us I hope with a vision of a true ‘apocalypse’ – not earth-scorching destruction but paradigm-shattering revelation.

In January I articulated my own growing sense that the Apocalypse is already history when I called out the folly of Harold (“I did the math”) Camping’s predictions of a Day of Reckoning for May 21 of this year.

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11 thoughts on “I might like Pete Rollins on the Apocalypse

  1. Hello,

    Do you mind if I ask who you are? Your blog is very intriguing, and the information you put on the “About Next” page is even more intriguing. However, the “About Next” page didn’t really explain what you are getting at. For example, what do you mean by “the end of a dispensation”? How are you both “ex-Catholic” and “ex-Protestant”? What would you consider “an authentic Christian approach to God”? And what do you mean by “broken places where it is reported that a promising type of Christianity had been seeking truth and life before the roof fell in”? Can you give me an example of some such broken place? I would very much appreciate your response. If you do not want to reply here, you can always email me.

    Thank you.

  2. I am an unauthorized student-teacher now past middle age, Daniel. Still more I am the student in the front row with his hand up all the time who has done the homework and the supplementary reading. I am the concerned and well-read layman to whom every theology book is secretly written. Whatever doesn’t make sense to me will never fly beyond the ‘ivory tower’ of scholarship and will never descend from the pulpit for the future life of the body of Christ.

    The dispensation which I see ended is that which was begun in hope in the early sixteenth century. My post-Reformation theology is still a work in progress, but it draws not so much on the work of Catholics or Lutherans or Calvinists as on the work of men who were killed or imprisoned or stonewalled or slandered or hounded by Romans and Protestants. So beware, if you crave authorities.

    This blog is a wall-hanging of ideas in which I hope I will eventually see my long intellectual and spiritual life consumated and finally dedicated to God and the Son in the manner in which I was called (perhaps in book form). It’s just a notebook. No need to be ‘intrigued.’

    • That would be a great experience, Matt, and if I had the money and the right schedule I might already be signed up. It sounds lovely up there on the northcoast.

      Anything to report on the September Belfast presentation? – I have been following Peter’s blog since then and not noticed an update.

      In my current view the apocalypse (unveiling) – which I believe has already happened in the religious sphere – will eventually bring an ethical and spiritual ‘transparency’ of the sort that should completely immobilize and disarm all the present ruling parties in politics, economics and religion. This is the real meaning I think of the words of Jesus, “There is nothing concealed which will not be discovered” (Mt 10:26 – preferable to Mark 4:22 because of the verb form of the Greek word ‘apokalypse’). Like Pete, I think any good apocalypse has to be scarry for the status quo.

      I was a commenter on Peter’s old blog in early 2009 (aka ‘Reader’), when he was developing his notions on identity and the suspended space of worship. They were fruitful threads for me.

  3. I’m delighted to discover this blog, friend John, and your mind! Your thesis that the Apocalypse is not a timetable of future events but something to be found in past and present reminds me of how George Fox and early Friends read Revelation, which I’ll now have to study up on in order to say anything intelligent. I’m particularly grateful for your laboring to look at the Gospel through fresh eyes, particularly your piece earlier this year about what Jesus must have meant by “looking upon a woman to lust after her,” which has to be a hard saying for every Christian. Thank you!

    • John, I have been tracking you for some time, along with a few other online Friends, because your thoughts have that quality I think Fox would call ‘weighty’ and because the spirit of George Fox and the question of what will happen to today’s Society of Friends are a high concern of mine.

      Fox is one of my key post-reformation thinkers (as you may have noticed by clicking that category on the blog index).

      Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

  4. The meaning of the word apocalypse is the lifting of the veil, which of course can only occur by a present time Divine Revelation.
    It certainly cannot and will not occur in the future by any kind of dramatic historical event.
    ALL dramatic historical events always lead to more of the same benighted dreadfulness.

    How then do you account for the unmitigated blood-soaked horror of Christian history?
    As pictured in this one stark image:
    [link deleted by blog owner]
    As pictured and described here:
    [link deleted by blog owner]
    [link deleted by blog owner]

    And as now it is now being dramatized on to the world stage, as described in this reference. Note the unspeakably vile sado-masochistic snuff/splatter film being reviewed here.
    [link deleted by blog owner]

    • Sue, sorry about your bad experiences. I agree with your definition of apocalypse (as you will note in my second comment).

      And Pete addresses the problem of the negatives you bring up on the page linked to him.

      You’ve gotten yourself blocked for moderation for lack of positive contribution, and don’t expect to post here on negatives alone.

      cheers.

  5. Hi John,

    Thanks for this. I have just added Peter Rollins bog to my blogroll. His theology seems to be subversive of the religious establishment, so I must start reading him.

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

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