Christ's Second Advent: a motivation for Christian living...

Announce: the Lord is Coming!

"Our most significant motivation is the urge to take effective action"
(paraphrased from Robert Winthrop White, "Motivation Reconsidered: The Concept of Competence", 1959)

Handley Moule: Am I not right in saying that to a great extent the modern preacher, of all schools, is silent, or very nearly so, about the second coming? Is it not the fact that even where the great topic is dealt with, it is often so handled as to leave the vaguest impressions? Sometimes one would think that the prospect is viewed as only a course of progressive evolution, a perpetual 'coming' of Christ in His spiritual and moral potency.

I presume to say that such a reduction of the promise of the parousia [Gk. "coming of the King", Matt. 24:3] is nothing less than an appeal from the most explicit teachings of our Lord and the apostles to something else. And it suggests the thought that the like explanations of Old Testament prophecy would have discouraged all anticipation of a personal first advent. Yet a personal first advent historically came to be, and the Church is the result of it, and of it alone.

I venture to appeal, first, for a far more definite announcement that 'the Lord is coming,' (e.g., James 5:8) Himself, in person, in supreme event; and that we know not when, except that it will be 'when ye think not' (Luke 12:40). The dawn of the twentieth century, with its unsolved questions and uprising causes, does not seem to be a likely period. It may therefore be the very time. 'Be ye therefore ready' (Luke 12:40).

A Veritable, Personal Coming

The preaching of the parousia, which shall be fully scriptural, must include two main elements. First, the element of awe, the assurance that God has 'appointed a day' (Acts 17:31) in which He will judge the world; in which the individual must give an account of himself and his stewardship; that a crisis of judgment, dread and ineffable, is before us. The waning sense of sin needs the reinforcement of that warning, now if ever.

On the other hand, the true preacher of the advent will never forget the radiant aspect of it, which is the ruling aspect in the Bible. We have to remember the coming of the Bridegroom for the bride (Rev. 21:9), the breaking in of the heavenly 'summer'; 'that blissful hope' (to render Titus 2:13 'blessed hope' literally); the gladness, and glory of resurrection.

The second advent, veritable, personal, as much an actual event as the first, is, in Archbishop Benson's words, 'what must happen some time, and may happen any time.' The august theme is 'profitable for instruction in righteousness,' (2 Tim. 3:16) and also for the revival of that hope which not only is in harmony with 'patient continuance in well-doing' (Romans 2:7) in the work of the Lord, but is the soul of it.

from a Pastoral Letter by Dr. Handley C. G. Moule, Anglican Bishop of Durham, England, 1913.


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