Chapter 5, “Preaching in the Future-Perfect Tense: Eschatology and Proclamation” pp. 111-132.
Long compares much preaching to polls that show people as “undecided.” The pulpit tends to be silent about challenging issues (Long 2009,111). This is surprising due to the recently common preaching of repentance, sin, and judgment (Long 2009, 112).
After explaining some of the postmillennial eschatology of the 19th century (Long 2009, 113), Long explains the attractiveness of the view, “that it generated a kinder and gentler eschatology than the alternative: premillennialism. Premillennialists, who barked their fearful theology mainly from the fringes, held to a Halloween-nightmare view of the end of time” (Long 2009, 115). The doctrines and fervore were dependent on the authority of Scripture, the exceptionalism of Christianity, and a view of humans as superior, all of which was challenged in the 19th century (Long 2009, 115). This may well have led to a silence from the pulpit. The message turned from a biblical eschatology to a message of progress (Long 2009, 117). The message of progress as savior effectively removes God from our categories (Long 2009, 118). Long goes on to illustrate the futility with no eschatological promise as illustrated in modern literature and film.
In sum, Long identifies “three characteristics of eschatological preaching” (Long 2009, 125). It participates in God’s present and future promise. It affirms a God-given shape to life (Long 2009, 126). Finally, eschatology pertains to the present and the future hope grasped right now (Long 2009, 129).