Question: How do you think a person's view of the end times affects their passion for taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth? For instance, does the currently popular pre-trib rapture eschatology make for more eager missionaries
or maybe the older, but currently less popular dominion theology?
Answer: First, I think it would be helpful to define the two terms for my readers. The "pre-trip rapture eschatology" is the idea that Jesus is going to appear in the clouds to remove His followers from the earth and to take them to Heaven before a literal 7 year period of tribulation on the earth. The less popular "dominion theology" which is found in some Pentecostal/Charismatic circles as well as Reformed theology circles (where it is called reconstructionism) is the idea that before Christ comes back to the earth, the Church has to prepare the way for Him by Christianizing the world, not only in the hearts and minds of people, but also in the political realm.
Speaking from personal experience, I can say that the Pre-trib rapture eschatology produces a far greater motivation for world evangelism, primarily becauase it emphasizes that Jesus could come back at any moment, or as the Apostle Paul says, "in the twinkling of an eye." This idea, better known as the doctrine of immanence, has helped to give me the motivation to not take one day for granted and to make the most out of my life before it is too late. I think that dominion theology is misguided because it fails to take into account that Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" and, in my view, it tries to emphasize creating an earthly kingdom for Jesus to come back to.
The pre-trib eschatology is not without its problems, however. Since it comes from a larger system known as dispensationalism which, in today's parlance, is virtually synomynous with Christian Zionism, the idea that the Church is obligated to help the Jews reclaim the Biblical promised land. For some Christians in this camp, it is more important to help the State of Israel take over the Middle East than it is to "preach the gospel to every creature." This view fails to take into account that Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, is perfectly capable of settling border disputes in the Middle East when He returns to establish His 1,000 year kingdom on earth. It also fails to take into account that nowhere in the New Testament are Christians told to help the Jews reclaim the promised land.
The most sensible approach is to obey the instructions of the Apostle Paul to "eagerly wait for the Savior" and the words of Jesus to "occupy until I come" at the same time. This provides motivation for Christian evangelism and a healthy and robust social action at the same time.