Do We Really Need Another Book on Amillennialism?

Over at The Gospel Coalition blog, Sam Storms shares his testimony of how he emerged from the wastelands of old Dallas Theological Seminary.  He had languished there in ignorance as a Dispensational, premillennial, pretribulationist until G. Ladd, R. Gundry, and A. Hoekema gradually helped to complete his metamorphosis into a fully matured amillennialist.

Sam’s been given this opportunity to share on TGC because, as his testimony crescendos to its emotion stirring conclusions, he announces that he has a book coming out on the subject of amillennialism this May!  My internet pal, Alan Kurschner, has a book coming out on the pre-wrath view of the rapture sometime this year, but something tells me he won’t get the invite to share his testimony as to how he came to that view on such a broad reaching forum.  Heck, my friend Dan Phillips had two stellar books published over the last couple of years and I don’t even think he got even a review.

At any rate, I guess I can gel with Sam’s faith journey to a degree. I once floated in the orbit of the KJV-only cult.  Thanks to God and Gail Riplinger, I too experienced a “born-again” experience in which I changed my personal paradigm, so I know the excitement of being a “new” convert.

However, unlike Sam, when it came to eschatology, I wrestled with the exact same authors and their works against Dispensational premillennialism as he mentions in his article. But rather than experiencing a crisis of faith and having my will broken, when I turned to the Bible, I found my convictions strengthened as I tested their arguments against my positions and so I stayed true to my Dispensational, premillennial up-bringing.

Which makes me wonder: Do we really need another book on amillennialism? I mean, hasn’t Kim Riddlebarger, William Cox, Robert Strimple, Cornelis Venema, Floyd Hamilton, Oswald Allis, and Anthony Hoekema to name a few apologists in that arena, exhausted this subject with their published polemics? As I understand it, G.K. Beale’s entire massive NT Theology is nothing but a thousand plus page apologetic for amillennialism. I guess I am at a loss how one more book could possibly add any more clarity to the amillennial perspective than what has already been written. But what do I know, I’m just a small time blogger.

That stated, and seeing that Sam listed out a few of his reasons why he abandoned premillennialism, I thought I would list my reasons why I never jumped the premillennial ship for the amillennial one when I read the exact same authors he did. I’ve written on eschatology here at my blog in past articles if anyone is interested and I expand upon these points.

  • I have to ignore the historical reality that premillennialism was believed and taught by the early church up and until Augustine made it unpopular with the publication of his “City of God.”
  • I have to overlook the profound impact Greek philosophy and allegory had upon Augustine’s views of the Bible.
  • Requires I abandon standard, historical-grammatical hermeneutics and adopt a Christo-typological interpretation of the Bible.
  • Requires that I adopt an artificial division between the OT and NT in which the NT takes interpretive priority and over-rides the meaning of the OT at key, prophetic texts.
  • Requires I ignore all grammatical indicators that clearly distinguish between the Jewish people and the nation of Israel and the NT church.
  • I have to believe promises made directly to Jewish Israel of a future salvation and restoration is fulfilled entirely in the NT church.
  • That the NT church is the same as the OT “Israel.”
  • I have to understand Revelation 20 to be a recapitulation that takes me back to the beginning of the church age rather than following naturally and chronologically from the events in Revelation 19.
  • I am supposed to suspended all exegetical rules of the Greek language and believe that the Resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20:4 is spiritual, whereas the one noted almost immediately following in verse 20:5 is physical.
  • I have to consider the concept of apocalyptic literature and apocalypticism is a valid, biblical genre in spite of the fact that such writing wasn’t developed until the intertestamental period about 200 B.C. long after the close of the OT canon.

Those are just some of the handful of reasons why I could not leave premillennnialism for amillennialism after I studied the exact same things Sam did.  I am not sure why I came out of that academic crucible strengthened in my premillennial convictions where as he did not, but something tells me I won’t get to share that in an article posted at TGC.

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95 thoughts on “Do We Really Need Another Book on Amillennialism?

  1. Nathan writes,
    Ah! another ad hominem argument. This makes me think of how Bart Erhman likes to debate. He says that “scholars agree” with him and of course he decides who a scholar is or not.

    Lynda can add to this if she wants, but there isn’t any ad hominem when you can back up your claims with historical fact and documentation. Even Bart Ehrman is correct about a lot of his information he present. We just don’t swallow his apostate conclusions on the matter. I am not sure what your reading has been on the subject of early Christians and their eschatology, but we have given you a lot of material to work through. I’d encourage you to go digging in them.

    My point still stands, well educated scholars aside, where in the NT does it clearly state that ethnic Israel still has land promises coming?

    I’ve written on this point, too. Look here: https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/the-restoration-of-israel-in-the-nt/

    If the NT writers can “spiritualize” those promises, then I unashamedly will also.

    But they didn’t “spiritualize” those promises in the manner you suggest. This is the major flaw in your over all approach to the Bible.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me discourse a little with you guys. It is always good to hear other points of view so one can consider their own position. But I have probably worn out my welcome. Thank you.

    I appreciate the challenges. I really do. Hopefully you stop by again. In the meantime, my exhortation is to at least avail yourself of the many resources you’ve been pointed to. With just our brief interaction, I think you have been sorely misinformed about Dispensationalism and premillennialism. I am in no way claiming you’ll have your mind changed, but at least you can have a more robust, educated perspective of what it is you disagree with.

  2. Dan, is this the same Sam Storms that S. Lewis Johnson often mentioned in his messages (in the 1980s)? The one that apparently went to Believers Chapel at that time and taught Sunday School there?

  3. On the subject of “replacement theology” or “supersessionism” I highly recommend that serious consideration be given to the following works listed in preferential order beginning with the data for the two already mentioned in the comments by Pam S.:

    Barry Horner Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged (New American Commentary Studies in Bible and Theology), series ed. E. Ray Clendenen (n.p.: B&H Academic, 2007).

    Michael J. Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation (Nashville, B&H, 2010). His Resource Library on “Supersessionism” is on Theological Studies at http://theologicalstudies.org/resource-library/supersessionism [accessed 18 JAN 2013].

    1. Carl B. Hoch, Jr. All Things New: The Significance of Newness for Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), esp. pp.253-318, “Appendix B: The Term Israel in the New Testament”.

    2. Renald E. Showers, The Coming Apocalypse: A Study of Replacement Theology vs. God’s Faithfulness in the End-Times (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel, Inc., 2009).

    3. Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1959), esp. pp. 437-441.

    4. Moishe Rosen, “Does Israel Have An Earthly Future?”, presented at the 1986 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology held at the Tenth Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia, PA);
    audio message available at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/alliance-of-confessing-evangelicals/listen/does-israel-have-an-earthly-future-70487.html [accessed 18 JAN 2013]; published as Moishe Rosen, “Does Israel Have An Earthly Future?”, with Mitch Glaser and Larry Brandt, in Our Blessed Hope: The Biblical Doctrine of the Last Things (Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, 1986), pp. 30-40.

    5. William E. Blackstone, Jesus Is Coming (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1932,
    1908, and 1898), esp. Ch. 15, “Israel to be Restored”; available on Jesus is Savior at http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Books,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/JIC/jic-intro.htm [accessed 18 JAN 2013], and Rapture Ready at http://www.raptureready.com/resource/web/web.html [accessed 18 JAN 2013]. Note: Unfortunately these internet editions do not have the Scripture passages all cited at the bottom of the pages like the print editions.

    6. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “An Assessment of Replacement Theology: The Relationship Between Israel of the Abrahamic-Davidic Covenant and the Christian Church,” Mishkan 21 (1994): 9-20.

    I will close my comment with this extract:

    “What are some common interpretive mistakes you see in Reformed circles today?

    Although not limited to Reformed theology, in some Reformed circles a presuppositional interpretative procedure is followed. For some this entails a commitment to theology and/or established creedal declarations, which takes precedence over a balanced hermeneutical approach. In some cases, this involves embracing replacement theology (or some form of supersessionism), which entails a complete transference of the promises made to Israel to the church. Although replacement theology has ancient roots, it stands at variance with the canonical realization of the promises in the Abrahamic covenant (as further progressively detailed in the Davidic and new covenants) not only for individual believers but also for national Israel. Another difficulty emerging from Reformed circles is that of theonomy, which declares that Old Testament law continues to apply today. This sometimes takes the form of reconstructionism, which holds that the divine mandate is that all governments (not just Israel) make Old Testament moral law the legal basis of their country. Such a view fails to take in the canonical data with regard to the mission of the church. Whether in Reformed circles or elsewhere, a presuppositional approach mitigates against a balanced interpretation and understanding of God’s Word.”

    Extracted from: Book Review: “Invitation to Biblical Interpretation, by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard Patterson; Interview” (of Andreas J. Kostenberger), by Matt Smethurst on The Gospel Coalition at http://thegospelcoalition.org/book-reviews/interview/invitation_to_biblical_interpretation [accessed 18 JAN 2013].

    Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

    John T. “Jack” Jeffery
    Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
    Greentown, PA

  4. Yes, Fred has said this very well, and been far more patient with you than I would have been. The statement you quoted from me was immediately after the facts from amillennial history and scripture, but of course you ignored all that including my scriptural references and my further point regarding premillennialism found in countries that only recently received the gospel, to bring your own “ad hominem” response completely out of context and incorrectly.

    You also ignored my other scriptural arguments earlier, such as my response to your ludicrous statement that a literal interpretation of someone sitting under a fig tree means that bearing spiritual fruit for Christ is reduced to having a fruit garden. Since you say that you only want to discuss scripture, why is that you ignore all the conversation here regarding specific scriptural passages (from me as well as several others here) and claim that I’m the one doing an ad hominem argument?

    A little graciousness and respect for others’ views would be more appropriate here, to allow that other Christians really do see this issue differently than you, and to consider that maybe you are wrong about this matter (we’re all still a work in progress, we’re all still growing in the faith) — and that you really don’t know what it is that we really believe and you are as yet uninformed regarding the truth of the history of amillennialism and the secular influences upon Augustine and what came about afterward: that the Reformers imported their eschatology and ecclesiology unreformed from the Catholic church, and only applied the literal grammatical historical hermeneutic to soteriology.

  5. Fivepointer,

    I did read the link to where you deal with NT passages supposedly dealing with Israel’s future. The first two in Acts are far from clear statements. Yes, if one begins with your presupposition it might mean this but it is an inference. The question is what is going to be restored and what does refreshing mean but these passages make no definitive statement whereas there are many that apply them specifically to the Jewish and Gentile church. I have already pointed out that after 3 and a half years there was plenty they didn’t understand well even after Pentecost.

    I know nothing of Sam Storms nor the context of his statement about the Apostle John but Dan’s conclusion is problematic. We understand that John’s gospel and epistles were without error but the apostles themselves were not perfect as Gal. 2 reminds us. No doubt they had their misinterpretations like the rest of us but they are not found in Scripture.

    The Romans passage is really a stretch. The debate even among Amils. is over whether Israel will be ingathered into the church near the end of the age not whether they shall be restored to the land. The issue in Rom. 11 is who will be saved, not will Israel be resettled in the land, etc. Whether the Jews have some measure of revival yet to come like the Gentiles have experienced from time to time can be held by any Amil. I hope it is so but this only supports my position that whatever promises made to the Jews involved it only was gained in the cross. At this point there can be no scenario in which every ethnic Jew will be saved in any sense. But every Jew elected unto salvation will be saved.

  6. nathan, the Reformed Anglicans (Sydney Anglicans and UK Conservative Evangelicals like Reform, which is the Reformed circles i’m familiar with) are honest enough to admit that the visible church was premillennial within the first 3 centuries after Christ. For example, see Michael Reeves’ The Breeze of the Centuries (IVP Press) in particular the chapter on Irenaeus. It’s no shame to honestly admit that amillennial is a newcomer, why do you dodge it?

  7. Pingback: Feeling Prophetic: Sam Storms’ “Immovable Support for Amillennialism” « DR. RELUCTANT

  8. Sam Storms originally was with the Kansas City Prophets and spent time with IHOP and Mike Bickle………

  9. Hey Linda , I will check that out. Also I love David Baron and have read “Israel in the Plan of God”. Which book are you referring to?
    Thanks,
    Pam

  10. Linda, that is so true about the history of Amill. Luther was a prime example. He didn’t leave that Roman Catholic eschatology behind.
    I always explain that I am Reformed according to soteriology but not to my eschatology.
    Some reformed have a really hard time going thru Bible prophecy and explaining certain Scripture because it pokes holes in their hermeneutic.
    Dr. Vlach has some really great articles on Covenantalism, which I believe, has helped lead to Replacement Theology.
    Maybe that is the reason why, it seems today, that a lot of the Reformed churches are leaning dangerously into Roman Catholic territory with their fondness for the contemplative, adopting Catholic style practices in their liturgy, etc. As a former Roman Catholic, I get a little sqeemish, when I see or hear these things.

    Pam.

  11. “The History of the Ten Lost Tribes: Anglo-Israelism Examined” is the one in which he dealt with this topic. It’s available on Amazon Kindle format for free (last I checked), plus probably available elsewhere. Since you like David Baron, are you familiar also with Adolph Saphir? He was shortly before David Baron in the late 19th century, and I’ve read one of his books, on the Unity of Scripture — also very good.

  12. I am pretty sure I have said nothing that suggests Premillennialism wasn’t the prevalent view early on. But that isn’t biblical proof. All of us would have very real theological problems with much of what the early Church Fathers held to on some things. 2000 years of debate and study should naturally result in a sharper understanding of Scriptures, not less. Of course, it also leads to more error. But at the end of the day we are responsible to believe the Bible as we understand it, not the way a previous generation did. We build on their study and are thankful for it; we don’t ignore it but we don’t assume the early church was infallible on the things we agree with.

    It seems to me that much of what passes for defense here as been based on history and philosophy more so than careful biblical exegesis. But that is just my opinion. This constant equating of Amillennialism. to Reformed theology misses the point on several levels. Trying to argue against a position because of some of its adherents accomplishes nothing. We defend through the Bible alone.

  13. Nathan writes,
    I am pretty sure I have said nothing that suggests Premillennialism wasn’t the prevalent view early on. But that isn’t biblical proof. All of us would have very real theological problems with much of what the early Church Fathers held to on some things.

    But Nathan, it just wasn’t an odd ball belief held by a few cultic groups among many. The direct disciples of John the apostle, you know, the guy who actually wrote the book of Revelation, like Papias and Polycarp, and a second generation disciple like Irenaeus, all taught premillennialism. Irenaeus, for example, In his famous “Against Heresies” used premillennialism to argue against the rising views of Gnosticism that divided matter from spirit as being evil. These are key individuals who had direct and second-hand contact with John and other of the surviving apostles in the first century. They are not holding to Amillennialism.

    It seems to me that much of what passes for defense here as been based on history and philosophy more so than careful biblical exegesis.

    Well, Nathan, you have already noted above how such conversations within the comments of a blog post is not the best forum to carry on a theological debate. I would say hammering out detailed exegesis as well. However, I alluded to exegetical problems for Amillennialism in my points above, especially the ones addressing Revelation 20. If you need more exegesis, check out my articles under my studies in eschatology. (Articles page is at the top). Also, note the ping back to Paul Henebury’s article about Storms’s book. He touches on some problems as well. http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/feeling-prophetic-sam-storms-immovable-support-for-amillennialism/

  14. ” I believe the promises made to them have everything to do with being truly blessed in Christ.””

    No dispensationalist disagrees with them. The whole point is, do you believe Jesus will be ruling as the Messiah over the national israel pn earth during the millennial kingdom, which is one part of the credentials put in forth in Isaish, Amos, Zechariah, etc? Saying that because the natiinal Israel can’t be saved because they won’t be exclusively fulfileld in Christ is to read your own theological bias that Jesus can’t and will never be ruling on this world into your argument.

    So much for “We defend through the Bible alone.” eh?

  15. Lynda, most amillennial Sydney Anglicans and UK Conservative Evangelicals do in some way, I believe Phillip Jensen is one of them (but then I’m not sure if Jensen is amillennial – he appears to be premil from many sources). The church ministers I know who are into replacement theology believes this as well.

    In fact I only know WELS as the only prominent amillennial church group that denies this.

  16. Dan: Could you provide me with a URL or other information to document this statement by Storms so that I am not quoting him via a secondary source, i.e., you! :-) I would really appreciate this!

  17. Thanks Dan. That is a good link. The one from your “Hither and Thither” post 16 OCT 2009 on your Biblical Christianity blog is broken. It attempts to go directly to a download URL. That didn’t work for me, but I was able to chop it to get to the “Partial Eschatology Views Small Table Talk”. :-)

  18. Just for the record, this is what Storms say at 1:15:20min: “if revelation 20 teaches a premillennial view as you [Hamilton] articulated, I have to abandon biblical inerrancy”.

  19. Thanks, Elaine. If this had been a real discussion or debate, everything should have stopped right there, and it should have turned to intervention…or evangelism.

  20. Elaine Bittnecourt: Thank you very much for providing the text and location in the video for that Storms quote. That may save someone else from having to wade through 2 hours of searching! :-)

  21. (John, sorry, this reply is to Dan).

    Dan,
    ” If this had been a real discussion or debate, everything should have stopped right there, and it should have turned to intervention…or evangelism.”

    Agreed. It is interesting to watch the reactions to that though. Piper says “no no no… good grief Sam!”, as he looks down and rearranges some papers on the table. I think that said more than his words. I always thought that what Storms said was never really taken with seriousness that such statement demanded.

  22. Hey Linda, I had an email conversation with Pastor Jim McClarty and he confirmed what I thought. He does not ascribe to British Israelism and if you listen to his audio on Ezk.37 again, I believe you will realize that.
    Thanks for the recommendation on the books, though. I enjoyed reading David Baron’s and I’m excited to start the one by Adolph Saphir..
    Thanks again.
    Pam

  23. As I pointed out in my article, yes he (McClarty) does not subscribe to “British Israelism.” But the error is still the same, and his scriptural “proofs” for the ten tribes being lost, are answered the same for any form of that teaching, whether British Israelism or any other variation.

  24. Isrealology: The Missing Link In Systematic Theology is a great book. Also in the great category are Barry Horner’s “Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged’ and “Israel and the Church: The Origins and Effects of Replacement Theology” by Ronald Diprose. Dr. MacArthur’s tapes from The Shepherd’s Conference 2007, and his series on Zechariah are equally instructive. Thank you guys for contending…

  25. Just another example of one who has abandoned sound exegesis for allegorizing and spiritualizing the text due to the private interpretations and thoughts of fallible men against the sovereign will of almighty God who has irrevocably elected and promised literal future fulfillment of prophecy to His chosen people, national Israel.

    If he’s reading G. Ladd, R. Gundry, and A. Hoekema it’s not wonder he’s messed up.

    Jer 31:35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
    31:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
    31:37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

  26. Fred,
    I am a first time visitor to your blog. I would ask that before you blast Dr. Storms for his position that you actually read his book! My experience with people in the pretribulational, premillennial, dispensational theology is that most of you guys do not read outside your school. Maybe you do this yourself, but your response to and obvious fear of Dr. Storms’ work makes me suspicious. In your blog post you make several unfounded points in regard to what a person must ignore to become an amillinnialist. I appreciate your desire to police the need for new books on an important theme of theology but get real.

    Problems with your post from my position:
    1. I have to ignore the historical reality that premillennialism was believed and taught by the early church up and until Augustine made it unpopular with the publication of his “City of God.”

    Actually the two positions existed in the apostolic and early church fathers era of church history. It is common for people in dispensational eschatology to say that the earliest view of the church was premil. This is only a partial view of the history available. I challenge any of you to show me a church father who held the dispensational concept of eschatology. There were both premil and amil believers in the earliest church. There were zero dispensational believers.

    2. Requires that I adopt an artificial division between the OT and NT in which the NT takes interpretive priority and over-rides the meaning of the OT at key, prophetic texts.

    I just finished my D.Min. project on this very issue. The only way to understand the preaching and teaching of Christ and the Apostles and the book of Hebrews is through a lens that is cross centered. You can’t possibly read the NT and walk away thinking that we have to read the OT without looking at the progressive revelation available only in the NT. The very fact that we know revelation to be both progressive and expansive should lead to interpreting the meaning of the OT through the perspective of the cross.

    3. Requires I abandon standard, historical-grammatical hermeneutics and adopt a Christo-typological interpretation of the Bible.

    Again, this is the central subject I just spent the past 5 yrs. studying. Typology and Christocentric interpretation are nothing new. This is the way the church for the vast majority of history has understood the text. It also is not contrary to grammatical-historical interpretation. It might be helpful if you read and seriously interacted with “Kingdom Through Covenant” written by Gentry and Wellum. Neither of these authors is in favor of covenant theology, yet they strongly defend typology, christocentric interpretation, and grammatical-historical interpretation. You are forcing things to be opposed to one another that are not in opposition.

    I will stop with that because this list is getting really lengthy. Fred, my point is that the arrogance with which those who defend dispensational eschatology is sickening. I once lived under the teaching of dispensational theology. I respect many people who hold that view. But to read the arrogance displayed in blogs like yours saddens me.

  27. CW writes,
    I am a first time visitor to your blog. I would ask that before you blast Dr. Storms for his position that you actually read his book

    Just so you know, Sam Storms has been writing on this subject for sometime. I would imagine a number of his on-line articles, of which I have read extensively, will basically reappear in this book. So your accusation that I am just blasting him without warrant is unfounded.

    Additionally, I noted a number of other authors that I have read, in fact the very ones he claims that changed his mind. Why are they not good enough? What possibly could he tell me that is new that those men have not already taught?

    Continuing,
    My experience with people in the pretribulational, premillennial, dispensational theology is that most of you guys do not read outside your school.

    Interesting. My experience with amillennialists is exactly the same. None of them are well read outside the pet authors they have latched onto. In fact, they sort of believe any serious writing on the subject is limited to Hal Lindsey and Charles Ryrie. I noted this in a previous article. https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/what-dispensationalists-believe/

    Continuing,
    Maybe you do this yourself, but your response to and obvious fear of Dr. Storms’ work makes me suspicious. In your blog post you make several unfounded points in regard to what a person must ignore to become an amillinnialist. I appreciate your desire to police the need for new books on an important theme of theology but get real.

    Seeing this is the first time you have actually been to my blog, I’ll cut you a little slack regarding your condescending tone. I’ll link you here, where you can find a number of articles I have written on this subject, https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/studies-in-eschatology/ It may be helpful for you to refrain from making bone head assumptions about my back ground and what I believe and how read I am on the subject until you actually know a little bit about me.

    Continuing,
    Actually the two positions existed in the apostolic and early church fathers era of church history. It is common for people in dispensational eschatology to say that the earliest view of the church was premil.

    It is common for those in the amillennial camp to believe amillennialism existed along side premillennialism since the inception of the church, but this is historically wrong. It would be helpful for you to actually inform your self on this subject. I would suggest looking at Michael Vlach’s material which can be located here, http://theologicalstudies.org/ Additionally, Dr. Martin Erdmann’s work, “The Millennial Controversy in the Early Church.” He in particular goes into extensive detail demonstrating that premillennialism was the dominant, if not sole eschatological position in the early church, until Augustine.

    I challenge any of you to show me a church father who held the dispensational concept of eschatology.

    And I challenge you to show me one church father who held to covenant theology and it’s views of eschatology. There were zero number of them as well. As far as chronology, covenant theology predates dispensationalism about 150, 200 years. In spite of what R.Scott Clark wants you to believe.

    2. Requires that I adopt an artificial division between the OT and NT in which the NT takes interpretive priority and over-rides the meaning of the OT at key, prophetic texts.

    The only way to understand the preaching and teaching of Christ and the Apostles and the book of Hebrews is through a lens that is cross centered. You can’t possibly read the NT and walk away thinking that we have to read the OT without looking at the progressive revelation available only in the NT. The very fact that we know revelation to be both progressive and expansive should lead to interpreting the meaning of the OT through the perspective of the cross.

    And I have never argued that we ignore progressive revelation and the coming of Christ. But that reality does not mean I have to reinterpret the OT according to a NT hermeneutic that over rides the plain meaning of the OT promises. IOW, when God told the nation of Israel they will be restored in their land in the latter days, He means just that and it will happen. He is not tricking them to believe that it is a spiritualized NT “Israel” called the church. It’s just not there.

    3. Requires I abandon standard, historical-grammatical hermeneutics and adopt a Christo-typological interpretation of the Bible.

    Typology and Christocentric interpretation are nothing new. This is the way the church for the vast majority of history has understood the text. It also is not contrary to grammatical-historical interpretation. It might be helpful if you read and seriously interacted with “Kingdom Through Covenant” written by Gentry and Wellum. Neither of these authors is in favor of covenant theology, yet they strongly defend typology, christocentric interpretation, and grammatical-historical interpretation. You are forcing things to be opposed to one another that are not in opposition.

    The church understood the text in that fashion post Augustine. Who was heavily influenced by Platonic and Philonic interpretation.

    Fred, my point is that the arrogance with which those who defend dispensational eschatology is sickening. I once lived under the teaching of dispensational theology. I respect many people who hold that view. But to read the arrogance displayed in blogs like yours saddens me.

    Just like the arrogance of those who defend amillennialism. Have you even read anything by Riddlebarger or even Storms? Give me a break and take a look among the people you are attempting to defend.

  28. CW,

    “I am a first time visitor to your blog. I would ask that before you blast Dr. Storms for his position that you actually read his book! My experience with people in the pretribulational, premillennial, dispensational theology is that most of you guys do not read outside your school. Maybe you do this yourself, but your response to and obvious fear of Dr. Storms’ work makes me suspicious.”

    Your comment is priceless, I hope you can see the irony of what you wrote! Maybe you should read Fred’s blog a little, maybe a little background on him before you make your comments? Or maybe not, huh, easier to comment without really reading, and getting all upset with Fred for “his” lack of knowledge (so-called lack of knowledge) of Storms and/or supersessionists views.

    Priceless indeed. Thank you for the chuckle!

  29. Q – “Do We Really Need Another Book on Amillennialism?”
    A – YES, we at least need balance.

    The Left Behind series has burned Dispensational perceptions more deeply into the American mind in a way that C. I. Scofield could never have imagined. Furthermore Tim LaHaye used his millions to widen the influence of Dispensationalism by establishing the Pre-Trib Research Center led by Dr. Tommy Ice.

    notice, from the http://www.leftbehind.com website
    * * *
    question:
    “How popular is the Left Behind series?
    answer:
    “Very popular! The Left Behind series has exceeded 63 million in sales, making it the bestselling Christian fiction series in history. Left Behind was voted one of the top 10 books of the 20th century on barnesandnoble.com and ivillage.com. The Indwelling, book #7, The Mark, book #8, Desecration, book #9, The Remnant, book #10, and Armageddon, book #11, and Glorious Appearing, book #12, have all reached #1 on The New York Times bestseller list.”

    * * *

  30. Oh there you go, give me a break, will you? Left Behind series? Are you kidding me? No serious calvinist futurist dispensationalist base their theology on fiction.

    But… we have met before. I’ve seen you throw strawmen around. It’s even expected. Better than to deal with real issues eh Mark?!

    BTW, if you scroll up and read Fred’s reply to CW, you will see that he could have almost mentioned you by name in it. =) It fits you to a “t”. Here:

    “Interesting. My experience with amillennialists is exactly the same. None of them are well read outside the pet authors they have latched onto. In fact, they sort of believe any serious writing on the subject is limited to Hal Lindsey and Charles Ryrie. I noted this in a previous article.”

  31. Elaine,

    A bit harsh in your reply. Instead let’s stay focused on working through the topic. So my question is this:

    What is it about the Left Behind theology and the Pre-Trib Research Center that you do not agree with? An answer to this would be helpful to me in making distinctions between your Dispensationalism and their Dispensationalism. Thanks.

  32. BL,
    Elaine can speak for herself, but the distinction is rather sharp if you are paying attention. My suspicions is that you haven’t really spent much time engaging the articles posted at the PTRC site and a lot of your assumptions about them being “just the same as” or “similar to” Tim Lahaye’s work is entirely contrived and based upon hearsay.

    The most glaring distinction between the two is that of course, the Left Behind books are, well, books. Fantasy books to be precise that are sensationalistic and puts biblical prophecy in the realm of sci-fi literature. That is regrettable on Lahaye’s part for spinning prophecy into such a category.

    Tommy Ice, on the other hand, I happen to know. I am really good acquaintances with his younger son who is currently at Master’s Seminary. Ice is Calvinistic, Presuppositional and Dispensational, so his theology is much more solid than what is going to be offered in the LB books.

    Moreover, if you were to avail yourself of many of the articles they have posted at PTRC, they are solidly biblical, exegetical, and well-researched. They are not a bunch of hacks. For instance, they have posted Mark Hitchcock’s phd level dissertation on the dating of Revelation that is a rather firm affirmation of a 90 AD writing of Revelation which would put the pre-70 AD thesis preterists insist upon to rest. IF you don’t have a pre-70 AD writing of Revelation, well, preterism is pretty much false.

    Though there is some participation by non-Calvinistic writers, like Lahaye and even the late Dave Hunt, the bulk of the material falls squarely in the realm of the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation and His out-working of history.

    Look it. I don’t know any thing about you; but if I were to venture a guess, I bet you probably come from a IFB background, or some other similar dispensational oriented church where the emphasis on the matters of eschatology and prophecy were shallow and over-the-top with the newspaper exegesis. I came from that background as well. Somewhere along the way, you got introduced to Reformed theology and recognized that shallowness of what your church was all about. With the paradigm shift along the lines of Reformed thinking ultimately comes the paradigm shift away from Dispensationalism toward Covenant Theology and one of its flavors of millennialism depending upon what apologists you gravitate toward.

    Now, perhaps I am mistaken about your background, but of the folks I tend to encounter who are strident anti-dispensational and often times ignorantly invoke the name of “Tommy Ice” as if the guy is a buffoon, 7 or 8 times out of 10, they come from such backgrounds. When they have their awakening to Reformed theology, they read hit piece books against dispensationalism that they have never encountered before and think the arguments put forth are unassailable and reflect true biblical theology. Rather than availing themselves of reputable material that rebuts those criticisms, they drink it in and never bother seriously searching out those who provide a response.

    I would encourage you NOT to be one of those guys.
    Fred

  33. Fred,
    Thanks for your kind and engaging comments. I am still interested to know how the Left Behind theology is appreciably different than the PreTrib Research Center. Every time I have occasion to look into these things I find more similarities than differences.

    for example:
    Tim LaHaye is the originator of both. They exist because he initiated both.
    The PTRC exists because Dr. LaHaye put his money into the building of the center and gave the seed money to keep the org running.
    LaHaye —> Left Behind
    LaHaye —> PTRC

    Dr. Ice who runs the PTRC also defends the Left Behind series. He wrote…

    “In reality, the Left Behind series is teaching what the Bible literally says about future events…”

    and

    “The Left Behind novel series remains an excellent way to not only share the exciting details of end-time Bible prophecy, but it is also a tremendous way to share the gospel of grace to many who have been unapproachable in the past.”

    The words “what the Bible literally says about future events” are from a Bible scholar in this field of study. I value Dr. Ice’s opinion because he does indeed represent Dispensationalism articulately and with candor. So when he says that the Left Behind series give us “what the Bible literally says about future events” I am not inclined to minimize or dismiss his academic opinion.

    So as I see it, since Dr. LaHaye finances the PTRC and Dr. Ice defends the Left Behind series it is clear that these two entities are really of the same universe or to use your own blog’s name sake, they are joined “hip and thigh.”

    thanks again Fred,
    MarkO

  34. Me thinks MarkO would rather take on the fictional Left Behind books than some of the other non-fictional writings that you have pointed to Fred… I wonder why that is.

  35. MarkO writes,
    I am still interested to know how the Left Behind theology is appreciably different than the PreTrib Research Center. Every time I have occasion to look into these things I find more similarities than differences.

    Mark, the books are fictional in that they are, well, fiction. Other than following a basic premillennial, pre-trib framework to tell the story, I happen to know Tom doesn’t agree with a lot of what Lahaye and Jenkins lay out in the stories themselves. You’re copying a blurb from the back cover of the books. He certainly doesn’t defend all of it. He and Mark Hitchcock wrote a book addressing critics and answering questions and the like,
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Truth-Behind-Left-Biblical/dp/B002YNS3QO

    Like I stated previously. Lay aside those books and actually read academic level material that addresses those eschatological issues, all of which can be found at the PTRC. At this point you are like a Mormon apologist grousing about the inaccuracies of the “God Maker” films who ignore cogent critiques of their overall theology.

  36. Hi Fivepointer,
    Ok, so I went over to the PTRC website to look for the academic level material you mentioned. There is a lot of stuff there to be sure. I found this helpful article by Dr. Tim LaHaye on the academic level PTRC website. He writes:

    “The rise of China to become a dominant world political force during the past decade has
    enormous significance from a prophetic point of view. Many students of prophecy believe it
    signifies a trend that world geopolitical conditions are shaping up for the worlds last great
    conflict described over nineteen hundred years ago by the Apostle John when he wrote…
    ‘Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and its water was
    dried up, so that the way of the kings from the East might be prepared.’ (Rev 16:12)”

    So you see Dr. LaHaye’s Left Behind Theology is joined hip and thigh with the academic level PTRC theology. Dr. LaHaye’s academic level exegesis of Rev 16:12 proves that China is in the 7 Year Tribulation period does it not?

    AND

    Dr. Ice of the academic level PTRC and Dr. LaHaye have co-authored many prophecy books.
    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Tim%20LaHaye%20Thomas%20Ice&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ATim%20LaHaye%20Thomas%20Ice

    joined hip and thigh indeed are Left Behind theology and academic level Dispensationalism.

    thanks for the discussion,
    MarkO

  37. Well, we really haven’t had a discussion. You’ve lazily cherry-picked citations (out of context, mind you) you think support your view against Dispensationalism. Ironically, if I were to do such against theonomists or amillennialists, you’d probably deride me.

    Have you read any of those works by Ice and Lahaye that you link? Can you explain how they are NOT academic? Can you explain the problem with Lahaye’s comment about China? Why is it NOT academic? Are you of the opinion that no one can discern the geo-political climate and draw some possible application from what Scripture teaches? Do you equally mock preterists who do the same thing with Josephus in order to find “fulfillment” for their preterist read of Revelation?

  38. The original point I was making still stands:

    Left Behind theology and Dispensationalism (academic or not) are joined hip and thigh. They may express things differently, but they are otherwise the same.

    Whatever Dr. LaHaye says about China being in the Book of Revelation is not of great consequence as much as the fact that he is president of the PTRC and he is academically contributing to it and the PTRC wouldn’t exist without his initiation and help.

    Left Behindism and Dispensationalism are joined hip and thigh.

    that’s my point.

  39. No. You’re original point does not stand. Like I stated previous, the Left Behind books follow basic premillennial, pre-tribulationalism, which is what the PTRC is all about. Overall, the books are fictional. Basically, you are making an argument that is equal to someone saying that amillennialism and Roman Catholicisim are joined hip and thigh, which I probably could make a rather compelling case for such a connection in I wanted to.

  40. why is the Amillennialism teachings older than the Premillennial? And why does the premillennial view make Gentiles second class citizens? And why are the three views so earthly minded that they cannot except that the earth is going to be destroyed and not restored? HE restored or cleansed it once already with the flood. All that we see on this earth will be no more . Why does Hollywood like the Premillennial view better?

  41. Amillennialism isn’t older than premillennialism. The historic church believe the premill perspective until Augustine wrote against it and allegorized the millennium to be the church age in the 5th century.

    The premill view doesn’t make gentiles 2nd class citizens. Do you have a specific example of what you mean?

    By 3 views, you mean amill, postmill, and premill? Not sure of what you are asking here.

    Because the Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3 that this will happen with fire. There will be a new heaven and a new earth.

    I don’t know of anyone in Hollywood who particularly likes one eschatological scheme over the others. I think they enjoy the concept of Armageddon and the end of the world in general. I have never seen any movie made in Hollywood that favors premillennialism over the other 2 eschatological views.

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