Neither Rosy Optimists nor Despairing Pessimists

George Eldon Ladd, in The Gospel of the Kingdom, writes about the proper Christian attitude as the world continues toward its end. He says that Christians should have a healthy “biblical realism” rather than dogged optimism or pessimism.

We are not rosy optimists, expecting the gospel to conquer the world and establish the Kingdom of God. Neither are we to be despairing pessimists who feel that our task is hopeless in the face of the evil of This Age. We are realists—biblical realists. While we recognize the terrible power of evil, we also continue in the mission of worldwide evangelization. As we continue that mission, we should expect to see victories revealing God’s Kingdom. But when Christ returns in glory he will accomplish the last and greatest victory.

Christ has already conquered through his gospel—and we share in that victory—and he will one day bring final victory when he returns. Nevertheless, in this age creation will groan and evil will wax and wane. I think this is especially important for us Westerners to remember in light of the upcoming election. No matter who is elected, the Kingdom of God will not come with them, nor will a tunnel of blacker darkness.

We serve a sovereign God and we do not secure victories in elections or legislation but through gospel-advancement to the ends of the earth. Therefore, in spite of any prosperity or catastrophe, the Christian never builds false assurances or loses hope in this age because our blessed hope is the return of our dearest Lord Jesus. At that time, and at that time only, will he make all things new and all the sad things untrue.