Christ's Second Coming: Will it be Premillennial?

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Has anyone read this book by David Brown? The foreword/endorsement is by Ken Gentry although Brown was a postmil historicist and Gentry is a postmil preterist. I have it but haven't had the time to read it yet. Looks like a good critique of the 19th century premil position.
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
There is a tendency to conflate Historic Premillennialism (Eldon Ladd, James Boice, others) with Dispensational Premillennialism (Walvoord, Ryrie, others).

The title of this thread is, perhaps, an example of this conflation... I am sure it's just a mistake, afterall, not everyone knows that they are, in fact, significantly different Eschatologies.

Without going into an extended exposition of the doctrines, please let it suffice for me to note that, within the Reformed churches, Historic Premillennialism is accepted as an orthodox position on eschatological matters while Dispensationalism of any variety is not.

Referring merely to "Premillennialism" in the title of this thread may be misleading in this matter. The article linked answers issues pertaining to Dispensational Premillennialism from a Postmillennial perspective. With the exception of comments in parts 7 and 10 no reference is made to classic Premillennialism.

A note though, in part 10 the author seems, if not to actually conflate the two eschatologies at least to leave them undistinguished. This is troubling especially considering that the book referenced, "Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?", was written by two Dispensational scholars.

And just for the record, I am not Premillennial.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by Steadfast
There is a tendency to conflate Historic Premillennialism (Eldon Ladd, James Boice, others) with Dispensational Premillennialism (Walvoord, Ryrie, others).

The title of this thread is, perhaps, an example of this conflation... I am sure it's just a mistake, afterall, not everyone knows that they are, in fact, significantly different Eschatologies.

Without going into an extended exposition of the doctrines, please let it suffice for me to note that, within the Reformed churches, Historic Premillennialism is accepted as an orthodox position on eschatological matters while Dispensationalism of any variety is not.

Referring merely to "Premillennialism" in the title of this thread may be misleading in this matter. The article linked answers issues pertaining to Dispensational Premillennialism from a Postmillennial perspective. With the exception of comments in parts 7 and 10 no reference is made to classic Premillennialism.

A note though, in part 10 the author seems, if not to actually conflate the two eschatologies at least to leave them undistinguished. This is troubling especially considering that the book referenced, "Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?", was written by two Dispensational scholars.

And just for the record, I am not Premillennial.

The article I referenced and the book from which the title of this thread is derived are two separate things. The book addresses Historic (19th century) Postmillennialism as I noted earlier. Do your comments address the book at all?
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
Not really, I haven't read it.

Maybe I am just so used to reading Postmillennialists categorize others who do not agree with them as at best quasi-orthodox that I reacted rather than responding.

If Brown's book is a Postmil critique of Historic Premillennialism then I have no problem with it, why should I?

But the Albrecht piece still seems defective. He seems to mingle Dispensationalism with Historic Premillennialism. He probably knows better. I am gratified to learn that you do too.
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
There just seems to be this kind of "Wow, gee whiz" approach to Postmillennialism. Like, super cool dude...Theonomy, wow...

But then, this seems to transform at some point before into a rather condescending attitude toward contrary theories which inevitably lumps them all together as, somehow, 'less than'

It's just a little tedious is all.

I guess I don't HAVE to post on eschatological matters. You guys can have your little private Postie party. It probably would be best if I didn't in fact since I seem to have a problem addressing the issue rather than my perceptions.

:D
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Well, friend, I gather you are in the amil camp????

I am in the historic postmil camp, not the theonomic postmil camp, so we all need to take care not to lump different views together -- as you noted yourself! ;) I believe historic postmil thinking has much in common with historic amil thinking though there are obvious differences. Both are confessional anyway.

David Brown died in the late 1800's, and I know that dispensational premil thinking had started by then, but I am pretty sure his book focuses on the more historic premil perspective.

I haven't read Tom's article in-depth, although I referenced it, so I won't comment further until I can consider it at greater length.
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
Like, super cool dude...Theonomy, wow...

Wasn't meant 'at' you, my apologies if it seemed like I meant it that way.

And yes, I'm just an old fashioned, ho-hum, average, run of the mill traditional Reformed Amillennialist.

It's funny that in his article Albrecht notes that Postmillennialism isn't as "splashy" as Dispensationalism because, from where I sit, among many paedobaptists anyway, Postmillennialism, theonomic or otherwise, seems to be the flavor of the week.

Gentry, North and DeMar (and others, of course) have done a yeoman's work of resurrecting what had been, it needs to be admitted, a fairly moribund eschatological system.

And speaking of moribund; except in hidebound fundamentalist circles (which, God willing, are shrinking) the days of Dispensationalism as a "reputable" eschatology are numbered.

[Edited on 12-11-2004 by Steadfast]
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by Steadfast
Like, super cool dude...Theonomy, wow...

Wasn't meant 'at' you, my apologies if it seemed like I meant it that way.

And yes, I'm just an old fashioned, ho-hum, average, run of the mill traditional Reformed Amillennialist.

It's funny that in his article Albrecht notes that Postmillennialism isn't as "splashy" as Dispensationalism because, from where I sit, among many paedobaptists anyway, Postmillennialism seems to be the flavor of the week.

Like no problem, dude, it's cool! :cool:

Peace, brother.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
And speaking of moribund; except in hidebound fundamentalist circles (which, God willing, are shrinking) the days of Dispensationalism as a "reputable" eschatology are numbered.

I pray this is true! But almost everyone I know still holds to it!
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think Michael is right in pointing out that dissertations of various kinds on eschatological systems sometimes go beyond the confines of the eschatology, and delve into a suggested normativity for what is being proposed. One may and can refute some Amil or Premil or Postmil arguments without necessarily refuting the positions themselves. That is a distinction we all need to keep in mind. For example, the optimism/pessimism argument has been discredited, but that does not discredit the position it came from, but only the person who used it. Eschatology is still only theoretical at best, and needs to be dealt with within that boundary. Objections to the contravention of the inherent limits are justified, whereas objections to the arguments pertaining directly to the eschatological theories themselves are discussable, and should be so for our mutual edification.

But, Andrew, I also have not read the article in question. I'm not into the discussions of the different views themselves, as I am more interested in the natures of arguments themselves. I just thought I'd add my two cents worth. Sorry if this thread got off the track.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by JohnV
I think Michael is right in pointing out that dissertations of various kinds on eschatological systems sometimes go beyond the confines of the eschatology, and delve into a suggested normativity for what is being proposed. One may and can refute some Amil or Premil or Postmil arguments without necessarily refuting the positions themselves. That is a distinction we all need to keep in mind. For example, the optimism/pessimism argument has been discredited, but that does not discredit the position it came from, but only the person who used it. Eschatology is still only theoretical at best, and needs to be dealt with within that boundary. Objections to the contravention of the inherent limits are justified, whereas objections to the arguments pertaining directly to the eschatological theories themselves are discussable, and should be so for our mutual edification.

But, Andrew, I also have not read the article in question. I'm not into the discussions of the different views themselves, as I am more interested in the natures of arguments themselves. I just thought I'd add my two cents worth. Sorry if this thread got off the track.

Understood, John! I appreciate your two cents, as always!
 

Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is premil accepted within Reformed churches? In other words, if we are defining (just for the sake of clarity) a Reformed church as one which holds to the WCF, then wouldn't premil violate Westminster's one resurrection policy? I'm just thinking out loud. Maybe I missed something. Comments? Thanks.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Bobby:

The OPC has ruled that three Millennial views do not contravene the WCF: Amillennialism, Premillennialism, and Postmillennialism. However it also defines a fourth, which is the Premillennialism held by Dispensationalists. And this the OPC rejects as opposing the standard of faith.

I'm not so much into the nitty-gritty of the differences between the three views. But I do make a clear distinction between regarding these views as allowable within the Confession as opposed to making any one of them the norm over top of the Confession. If the church did that, then we would have a big problem, not with millennial views so much, but with regard to adding to Scripture. That is because none of the views are necessitated from Scripture. Though we may discuss differences in such views, we too often neglect the boundary given us, and try to "prove" that one is better than another and, hence, the right Biblical answer. Nothing could be more crass intellectually than that. Human reasonings, even of the most holy of us, cannot attain to that, necessitating what the Word does not, for there just is not enough information to make such a judgment. It must be shown that the Word necessitates it, not our reasonings.

Lately we have seen that a millennial view can be placed above Scirpture, making it normative for interpreting all texts, as if the entire NT was geared to this view. That, in my opinion, ought to be outlawed too, being every bit as erroneous as the Dispensational version of Premillennialism, even though it may be the view most espoused by the denomination. Reconstructonist Dominion Theology was introduced this way, and I have not yet heard anyone dealing with it as a danger to the WCF. But it is, every bit as much as the New Federal Vision or the New Perspective on Paul. On the other hand, it has not received very much currency either, and is waning even as I type.

But to answer your question directly, the OPC did not think that Historic Premillennialism opposed the WCF, to the best of my knowledge.
 

Ivan

Pastor
Okay, a little help here. I'm always asking about books to read!

Growing up SBC, I was premillennial, pre-trib, the whole ball of wax. Not unlike Adam, I grew tired of all the weird theories and the wrangling about this and that. I guess I essentially became a pan-millennialist...it will all "pan out" in the end!

Now I would like to develop my understanding of the various theories. To that end, could the good members of this board suggest some books, especially any that do a good job of covering all of the theories under one cover.

Thanks!
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Millard Erickson did one; it changed titles with each printing. He comes down on the post-trib side.
Three Views on the Millennium (Gentry, somebody, and Blaising, I think)
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Millard Erickson did one; it changed titles with each printing. He comes down on the post-trib side.
Three Views on the Millennium (Gentry, somebody, and Blaising, I think)

:handshake:

Thank you, sir!

Any others?
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would start with The City of God by Augustine. It's not about the millennial views, but it sure covers what you need to know in order to uderstand the views.

Other than that, if I recall, Lorraine Boetner also wrote a book about the three views. Can't remember what it was called. I've got it, but it's somewhere in the "to be filed" section.
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
"The Bible and the Future" by Anthony Hoekema is excellent on the subject.

The book is written from an unrestrainedly Amillennial perspective but he does do a great job (and a fair one, I think) of presenting the contending views.
 

Irishcat922

Puritan Board Sophomore
Were, or with whom did the nineteenth century pre-millinialism begin? Seems like I read somewhere that Chalmers was a big influence in this teaching.
I didn't realize till recently that Ryle was a pre-mill guy, I have been reading through his expository thoughts on Matthew with my family and it is very evident in his teaching that he was pre-mill. Although, He probably isn't now.

[Edited on 13-12-2004 by Irishcat922]
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by Irishcat922
Were, or with whom did the nineteenth century pre-millinialism begin? Seems like I read somewhere that Chalmers was a big influence in this teaching.
I didn't realize till recently that Ryle was a pre-mill guy, I have been reading through his expository thoughts on Matthew with my family and it is very evident in his teaching that he was pre-mill. Although, He probably isn't now.

[Edited on 13-12-2004 by Irishcat922]

I'm not well-studied in the history of eschatology, but I believe 19th century premillennialism was preceeded by chialism or millenarianism, even as far back as the early church, but that these views were not considered the predominant view of the orthodox.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by JohnV
Lately we have seen that a millennial view can be placed above Scirpture, making it normative for interpreting all texts, as if the entire NT was geared to this view. That, in my opinion, ought to be outlawed too, being every bit as erroneous as the Dispensational version of Premillennialism, even though it may be the view most espoused by the denomination. Reconstructonist Dominion Theology was introduced this way, and I have not yet heard anyone dealing with it as a danger to the WCF. But it is, every bit as much as the New Federal Vision or the New Perspective on Paul. On the other hand, it has not received very much currency either, and is waning even as I type.

What is "Reconstructonist Dominion Theology"?

If you're speaking of Christian Reconstruction, there have been some attempts to demonstrate that it is contrary to the Westminster Standards, but none of theme have been very successful, in my opinion. Besides, no advocate of CR makes a particular millennial view "above Scripture" in any sense. They all seem to follow the reformed tradition of allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

And Meredith Kline admitted that one would have to amend the Confession to remove all vestiges of theonomy.

Even the PCA admitted that we are all "theonomists" to one degree or another.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tom:

Besides, no advocate of CR makes a particular millennial view "above Scripture" in any sense. They all seem to follow the reformed tradition of allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.


I was referring to the Five Pillar Reconstructionist theology. It has five basic positions that it deems necessary: Calvinistic Soteriology, Postmillennial Eschatology, Presuppositional Apologetic, Theonomic Ethic, and Dominion Theology. In the particular case in question these were actually preached as Biblically and philosophically necessary. The denomination, to my knowledge, did not approve the last one as an acceptable theoretic, simply because it had never beed addressed. But it had approved Theonomy in general. So one man, not carefully questioned or examined, and not knowing the intrinsic limits of office, thought he had the duty to preach what he personally was convicted of, and went about proclaimed these tenets from the pulpit, confining Bible study to these subjects, and confining prayers for the church to the advancement of these beliefs. In so doing he deliberately alienated folks in his congregation who did not share these convictions, even telling them to find another church. "This church is going to be Reconstructionist!" he said (direct quote). He also brought charges of divisiveness against a member who insisted on discussing the problems of such an agenda during non-official church times, though this member had never disrupted any official church functions with his concerns. This man was painted as being the one who spread "a pall over the church." (direct quote)

This is a historical fact. Though now they deny these things ever happened in this way, and have put all the blame on the "dissident", yet the facts of the case during the trial shouted out to be heard, only to be constantly ignored and pushed under the carpet at every turn. So now not only do we have the spoiling of the preaching of the Word, we have no courage of conviction, an abuse of justice, and many more things that mark this particular case.

All that is asked is a bit of integrity. If the arguments are so strong and compelling, then lets face them in public. If these teachings are so central to the gospel, then defend them as such before peers. If Reformed Theology must convert to Five Pillar Reconstructionism, then put them forward publicly. Don't hide behind anyone's skirts. But as far as I know, these are still the marks of a false church: replacing the gospel with men's teachings; and administering discipline so as to prosecute the innocent and vindicate the guilty. Yet all this actually happened.

And Meredith Kline admitted that one would have to amend the Confession to remove all vestiges of theonomy.
If we were interested in removing every vestige of Theomony then we would be saying that evey bit of it is wrong. But like all other theories, good and bad alike, there is always some grain of truth to it; it builds on some truth that we all agree on. So Kline really isn't saying anything here, given the present context.

Even the PCA admitted that we are all "theonomists" to one degree or another.
No church believes that is it not preaching the gospel, no matter how far out they are in their theology. Even the liberals and antinomians will maintain the view that they keep their fidelity to the Word and all that it teaches. Sure, we can point out that they are just passing over teachings they don't agree with, so that the Bible is nothing more than a "yes man" book to their own slipping thelogy. But they will just counter that we have added "man-made" doctrines and interpretations. So, in this sense, every church, even the Antinomian churches, have a degree of Theonomy in them, because they live by what they accept as God's law to whatever degree they see fit.

Simply being radically the other way does not make it any more or less theonomic. It is not a matter of our views, but of God's law. It was never the debate on this Board that God's law itself was in question. Here we discussed the pros and cons of current views of Theonomy, the extent to which the NT gospel holds to the general equity of the law, and the differences with theonomic basics to the Reformed theological setting. As far as I know Theonomists and non-Theonomists alike will not identify with the Five Pillar Reconstructionism. And some Theonomists on this Board have posted many quotes from Rushdooney and Clark to show that they never taught these extremes, helping us to refute these radicals in this way, turning their own arguments against them. So we have not been against each other, but helping each other with lively debate.
 
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