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.