The problem of an 'overrealized' eschatology
[I have moved this comment and the discussion attached to it from the Mark Driscoll, the church and the supremacy of Christ thread because, as so often happens, it takes us off down the long and winding road of eschatology.]
Some very nice, sensible and eirenic reflections, Peter - not least with respect to this word ‘overrealised’. The problem with it, as I see it, is that it presupposes a normative measure of ‘realization’ that can be established independently of the interpretation of scripture and then applied to other interpretations. So my reading of the New Testament is faulted for falling too far to one side of some eschatological ideal, perhaps one that is captured by the peculiar ‘now and not yet’ principle. But where does such an ideal come from if not from the critical and open interpretation of scripture.
You know, I keep coming back to this simple question: What is so strange about Jesus and the authors of the New Testament speaking, in the language of Old Testament prophecy, about events in the foreseeable future that would have a profound and decisive impact on Israel and the early church? Why should that sort of prophetic concern for the impending experience of a historical community be condemned as overrealized! As you point out, this realistic historical focus is not at all at odds with the belief that there will be a final resurrection, justice, defeat of the last enemies, renewal of heaven and earth, and vindication of the Creator God.