Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Conscience Won't Let Me: Still Amillennial

You know, I just put a post up that said I was reverting back to historic premil, post trib; but I simply cannot do that! I am amillennial in my eschatological perspective, through and through. Hermeneutically, theologically, christologically, etc.; I cannot countenance a premil perspective anymore. It would certainly make it easier for me if I was still a dispensational premil (pre-trib to boot), given the church circles I am in (Calvary Chapel which is staunchly dispy, premil, pretrib); but I simply, by conscience, cannot make this move. I am convinced for many many reasons that the amil hermeneutic (which it is, a hermeneutic that ultimately, I think, takes shape theo-logically from a properly construed christological understanding) is the most biblical! There are various ways to construe amillennialism (just like there are many variations amongst dispy premillers etc); I am most comfortable with the way that Richard Bauckham develops this in his books, The Theology of the Book of Revelation & The Climax of Prophecy. Let me close this with something I wrote years ago as a bit of a synopsis of amillennialism ( picked it up as their synopsis for their amil category):

Fall of Jerusalem, 70 AD
The Amillennialist affirms that the people of Israel have not been cast off or replaced, but rather, that the Gentiles have now been included among the Jews in God's Covenantal promises. In other words, not replacement but expansion. God's redemptive plan, as first promised to Abraham, was that "all nations" would be blessed through him. Israel is, and always has been, saved the same as any other nation: by the promises to the seed, Christ. Amillennialists, do not believe in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth after His second coming. Rather, they affirm that when Christ returns, the resurrection of both the righteous and wicked will take place simultaneously (see John 5), followed by judgment and and the eternal state where heaven and earth merge and Christ reigns forever.

  1. It is highly Christocentric: it makes Christ the center of all the biblical covenants (even the “Land” covenant or Siniatic).
  2. It notes the universal scope of the Abrahamic Covenant (as key) to interpreting the rest of the biblical covenants.
  3. It sees salvation history oriented to a person (Christ), instead of a people (the nation of Israel).
  4. It emphasizes continuity between the “people of God” (Israel and the Church are one in Christ Eph. 2:11ff).
  5. It provides an ethic that is rooted in creation, and “re-creation” (continuity between God’s redemptive work now, carried over into the eternal state then).
  6. It emphasizes a trinitarian view of God as it elevates the “person”, Christ Jesus, the second person of the trinity as the point and mediator of all history.
  7. It flows from a hermeneutic that takes seriously the literary character of the Scriptures (esp. the book of Revelation).
I would probably revise a few things here, but I still think most of this is pretty accurate, for me. I am not saying that a historic premil wouldn't be able to affirm all of the above, but I just think the amil can affirm it with much more ease ;-).


  1. Thanks for this Bobby, I have huge amil leanings but to be honest my upbringing sort of made me weary of the endless technicalities of pre/a/post mil discussions so (to my eternal shame) have not had much impetus to look into it. Probably high time I change that. Any other books aside from Bauckham you would recommend?

    1. Hi Derrick,

      I probably had the same kind of upbringing as you; I would venture to guess (at least in this regard its sounds like). I was a hyper proponent for progressive dispy for a long time. Anyway, as far as your question; Greg Beale's commentary on Revelation (and in particular his exegesis of Rev 20) is good---but Beale tends to be much more Covenantally Reformed (like Federally Reformed) than I am comfortable with. Same with Anthony Hoekma's book The Bible and the Future; another good resource for this stuff. And then there is Stanley Grenz's 'Millennial Maze' if you haven't read that yet. But I would say it is Bauckham's books that helped provide an exegetical reason for me to finally feel comfortable, more, compelled to be amil. I actually corresponded with Bauckham a bit as I was reading his books (by email of course); he is ambiguous on whether he is amil/postmil---but I am amil.

      Someone recommended a book by Michael Gorman on this that I need to p/u still; once I can find what that book was I'll let you know.

      How has your experience been in the Seminary at Multnomah? My experience was much different than the undergrad at Multnomah, in this regard. In the Seminary I hardly got anything on dispyism etc; but in my undergrad I took the first class that Gurney ever did on Dispensationalism. Is it still the same?

  2. Pre-mil all the way, baby! Your conscience is misinformed :).

    1. Ali,

      I bet I could present a stronger argument than you on why I should be premil; and even so, I'm still amil ;-).

  3. Derrick,

    Harold Camping's "1994?" might be of interest to you. LOL


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