Judgment vs. Restoration

I recently posted on the problems with the “creation-fall-redemption-restoration” brand of biblical theology (CFRR for short). Several noted theologians (Keller, Driscoll, Ashford) use it regularly, but it falls short in a number of ways (see earlier post).

What I did not yet plainly suggest, however, is my attempt to find a better summary. So, here it is: Creation – Fall – Judgment – Redemption .  Notice how the last two words – judgment and redemption – both put an emphasis on the cross of Christ.

If you still think it’s a tiny change, it’s not. Here’s why:

  1. CFRR theology omits the twin-angled trajectory of the world in history – both to the new creation and to the lake of fire. Not everybody’s going into God’s kingdom.
  2. CFRR theology omits the powerful doctrine of God’s active, ongoing, finally culminating wrath against sin. CFJR does not.
  3. CFRR theology quietly caricatures God as a big, happy hippie. “It’s all good; I’ll make it better,” He says. Not for the unbelievers, the Bible (and CFJR) say.

See, this might be a bigger deal than you think.  Should CFRR be widely adopted, many more Christians would have a hard time reading the prophets or even the Psalms.  We would read lines about God obliterating the wicked and ask, “What?  I thought God was going to restore everything?!”  He is, but not for everyone.

CFRR could become the quiet killer of all that Reformation theology stands for.  It could take all of grace and turn it into all of merit – “God promised to make a new creation,” we’ll say.  And, yes, He did.  But it might not be so for you, and we need to remember that, lest we forget the true and living God.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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