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History of Reformed Eschatology #3344
Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:37 AM
Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:37 AM
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John_C Offline OP

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Bare with me as I try to ask this question. <br><br>I have the impression that postmillennialism was very prevalant with the Reformed prior to the 19-20th centuries. The World Wars and other historical events led many to change to the amillennial view which became the majority throughout most of the 20th century. It appears as if there has been movement back toward postmillennial in the last 10-15 years. From my pov it seems as if theonomy is driving many back toward the postmillennial position. Was theonomy as we see it today as prevalant with the Reformers prior to the 19th century? Was it the same fervor? What would be the differences?. Am I mistaken? What would be the valid historical Reformed view through the centuries?

Last edited by John_C; Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:39 AM.

John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
Re: History Supports A-Mil [Re: John_C] #3345
Sat Jun 07, 2003 8:50 AM
Sat Jun 07, 2003 8:50 AM
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The A-Mil view is as old as Christianity itself—since it is the “right” view [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/smile.gif" alt="smile" title="smile[/img]. According to some scholars the A-Mil view is the majority view of the historic Christian Church (you of course, will get a different take on this from others). What has become known as the A-Mil view was held by the great majority of the church fathers, the Protestant reformers, and by most reputable Bible commentaries.<br><br>Dr. John Walvoord, himself a dispy-pre-mil admits that [color:blue]Reformed eschatology had been predominately amillennial. Most if not all of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation were amillennial in their eschatology, following the teaching of Augustine</font color=blue> (Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan-Mar, 1951).<br><br>Dr. Louis Berkhof said, [color:blue]Some premillennialists have spoken of Amillennialism as a new view and as one of the most recent novelties, but this certainly is not in accord with the testimony of history. The name indeed is new, but the view to which it is applied is as old as Christianity. It had at least as many advocates as Chiliasm among the Church Fathers of the second and third centuries, supposed to have been the heyday of Chiliasm. It has ever since been the view most widely accepted, is the only view that is either expressed or implied in the great historical Confessions of the Church, and has always been the prevalent view in Reformed circles.</font color=blue> (Systematic Theology).<br><br>Dr. Loraine Boettner, who himself a Post-Mil advocate, said [color:blue]At the present time Amillennialism is the official view of the conservative Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, which has a membership of 2,000,000 and sponsors a world-wide ‘Lutheran-Hour’ radio program. It is also the view of the equally conservative Christian Reformed Church, likewise sponsoring an extensive radio program known as the ‘Back to God Hour’ and two of the smaller Presbyterian bodies, The Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church. It is ably set forth in two of the most conservative and scholarly theological seminaries in the United States, Calvin Seminary, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Westminster Theological Seminary, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</font color=blue> (The Millennium).<br><br>From the biographical chapter on Warfield, edited by Samuel Craig (Biblical and Theological Studies) he cites, [color:blue]Many, perhaps most, Calvinists, not to mention other evangelicals other than Reformed, do not share Warfield’s post-millennialism. Both of his great Calvinistic contemporaries, Kuyper and Bavinck, for instance, were a-millennialists, as was his esteemed colleague, Geerhardus Vos, perhaps the most erudite advocate of a-millennialism in America. He himself freely admitted that a-millennialism, though not known in those days under that name, is the historic Protestant view, as expressed in the creeds of the Reformation period including the Westminster Standards. </font color=blue><br><br>Augustine usually is credited with having crystallized amillennial teachings, while at the same time sounding the death knell to Chiliasm. According to William Cox some past Amillennialists were: Martin Luther, Melancthon, Zwingli, Knox, John Calvin, William Hendricksen, William Masselink, William J. Grier, Louis Berkhof, Martin Wyngarden, George L. Murray, Floyd Hamilton, Albertus Pieters, Geerhardus Vos, Abraham Kuyper, William Rutgers, Edward McDowell, Ray Summers, Herschel Hobbs, and many, many, others.<br><br>As far as more history on A-Mil go here to this post. And as far as the cultic cry (this is my opinion) of Theonomy & Reconstruction The Highway has several articles one of my favorites being: Moses' Law for Modern Gov't.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
Re: History of Reformed Eschatology [Re: John_C] #3346
Sat Jun 07, 2003 1:16 PM
Sat Jun 07, 2003 1:16 PM

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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]I have the impression that postmillennialism was very prevalant with the Reformed prior to the 19-20th centuries.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Its more than impression, its an historical fact as is documented by Iain Murray's The Puritan Hope and in J.A. DeJong's PhD thesis, As the Waters Cover the Sea: Millennial Expectations in the Rise<br>of Anglo-American Missions, 1640-1810., as well as several other sources (e.g. Marcellus Kik's [/i]An Eschatology of Victory[/i] and Greg Bahnsen's [u]<br>The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism[/u].<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]The World Wars and other historical events led many to change to the amillennial view which became the majority throughout most of the 20th century</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>There were of course many other issues such as the Dutch invasion of Westminster Seminary after the death of postmillennialist, J.Gresham Machen and the early departure of postmillennialist Oswald T. Allis. <br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]It appears as if there has been movement back toward postmillennial in the last 10-15 years.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Actually, the "movement back" began in the 1950's with the 1954 P & R publication of Roderick Campbell's Israel and the New Covenant and the 1957 publication of Boettner's The Millennium and the rise of "The Banner of Truth Publisher" reprinting the works of the postmillennial puritans.<br><br>The "movement" did take a big leap forward with the 1986 publication of David Chilton's Paradise Restored and Kenneth Gentry's Beast of Revelation, and similar published works promoting a preterist postmillennialism. These were based upon earlier works by Marcellus Kik (1971) and Boettner. <br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]From my pov it seems as if theonomy is driving many back toward the postmillennial position.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Actually the two things are distinctly separate issues and are not dependent on each other. Thus, one can be a postmill and not be a Theonomist (e.g. Boettner, Errol Hulse, Iain Murray, Marcellus Kik, etc) and one could also be a Theonomist and not be a postmillennialist. Theonomy itself does not commit you to any one millennial school of thought.<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Was theonomy as we see it today as prevalant with the Reformers prior to the 19th century? Was it the same fervor? What would be the differences?</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>The best answer to this question is found in James Jordans' [u]Calvinism and the Judicial Laws of Moses[/u]. To further answer your questions would take longer than this forum could provide.<br><br>Colin <br>

Re: History Supports A-Mil [Re: J_Edwards] #3347
Sat Jun 07, 2003 4:47 PM
Sat Jun 07, 2003 4:47 PM

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Of course there have been and still are many reformed theologians of the postmillennial variety such as the 19th century Princeton Seminary Theologians like J.A. Alexander and Charles and A.A. Hodge and Warfield and the 19th century Southern Presbyterians like Dabney and Thornwell and southern Baptists and the 17th century to 19th century Scottish presbyterians.

The "Amillennialism" of pre-20th century reformed Christianity was in fact, postmillennialism in that they taught that Christ returned after the end of the millennial long Inter-Advental period. In this, Postmillennialism and Amillennialism were practically indistinguishable from each other.

Thus, Augustine and Calvin and Knox were both postmillennial and Amillennial since the two views were not as distinct as they are today. There is clear evidence of Postmillennialism in both Augustine and Calvin. R.C. Sproul calls them "postmillennialists" in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus. Further evidence is found in James Jordan's 1981 article, Calvin's Incipient Postmillennialism.

See also, Dr. F. Nigel Lee's on line book, [u]Always Victorious: The Earliest Church Not Pre, But Postmillennial[/u].

However, modern Amillennialism today is just a backslidden form of postmillennialism by its jettisoning the earthly optimism of the reformers and puritans and of the early church. Thankfully, some of that optimism is returning in recent Amillennial works such as by Cornelus Venema.

BTW about Joe's Loraine Boettner citation, it is only referring to "the present time", and therefore it is not relevant to the "history" of the topic.

And regarding Samuel Craig's comment about Warfield's "postmillennialism", it should be noted that Warfield's postmillennial view was entirely unique because he had taught "Eschatological Univeralism", which is a view that even modern postmills like Gentry, Bahnsen, North, DeMar, Chilton, Kik, and Mathison do not even hold.

But Geerhardus Vos is one of the real founders of what passes today for modern Amillennialism. The reformers like Luther and Melancton had rarely ever touched on the topic. Thus, you would find great difficulty in looking for any pre-20th century exponent of Amillennialism. Virtually none of the writers of any of the Reformed confessions were Amillennial as it is known today.

Colin

Re: History Supports A-Mil #3348
Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:36 PM
Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:36 PM
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J_Edwards Offline
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In reply to:
[color:"blue"]Of course there have been and still are many reformed theologians of the postmillennial variety such as the 19th century Princeton Seminary Theologians like J.A. Alexander and Charles and A.A. Hodge and Warfield and the 19th century Southern Presbyterians like Dabney and Thornwell and southern Baptists and the 17th century to 19th century Scottish presbyterians. The "Amillennialism" of pre-20th century reformed Christianity was in fact, postmillennialism in that they taught that Christ returned after the end of the millennial long Inter-Advental period. In this, Postmillennialism and Amillennialism were practically indistinguishable from each other. Thus, Augustine and Calvin and Knox were both postmillennial and Amillennial since the two views were not as distinct as they are today. There is clear evidence of Postmillennialism in both Augustine and Calvin. R.C. Sproul calls them "postmillennialists" in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus. Further evidence is found in James Jordan's 1981 article, Calvin's Incipient Postmillennialism. See also, Dr. F. Nigel Lee's on line book, Always Victorious: The Earliest Church Not Pre, But Postmillennial. However, modern Amillennialism today is just a backslidden form of postmillennialism by its jettisoning the earthly optimism of the reformers and puritans and of the early church. Thankfully, some of that optimism is returning in recent Amillennial works such as by Cornelus Venema. BTW about Joe's Loraine Boettner citation, it is only referring to "the present time", and therefore it is not relevant to the "history" of the topic. And regarding Samuel Craig's comment about Warfield's "postmillennialism", it should be noted that Warfield's postmillennial view was entirely unique because he had taught "Eschatological Univeralism", which is a view that even modern postmills like Gentry, Bahnsen, North, DeMar, Chilton, Kik, and Mathison do not even hold. But Geerhardus Vos is one of the real founders of what passes today for modern Amillennialism. The reformers like Luther and Melancton had rarely ever touched on the topic. [color:red]Thus, you would find great difficulty in looking for any pre-20th century exponent of Amillennialism. Virtually none of the writers of any of the Reformed confessions were Amillennial as it is known today. [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/rofl.gif" alt="rofl" title="rofl[/img]

Quite a contrast of what you posted last time in response to the history of A-Mil vs. Post-Mil:

[color:red]I could easily grant that Amill is older or as old as postmillennialism.....[img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/scratch.gif" alt="scratch" title="scratch[/img]
So are you Pre-post or Post-post? Like the waves of the sea you suddenly are set adrift again--crashing here, crashing there. Sounds like you have backslidden once again into historical error--and that your own!! And did you notice that you never offered a refutation of the historical A-Mil comments in our previous postings (i.e. concerning Hippolytus, Victorinus, et. al.), or even here, just a broad brush stroke of calling them backslidden Post-Mil? Where's the beef, substance, and evidence of your assertions? [color:red]But, go ahead and have the last word CT292. It appears that you now need to do some back-peddling to support your backsliding views. [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/igiveup.gif" alt="igiveup" title="igiveup[/img]

Moses' Law for Modern Gov't. covers the rest of the theological "questions" of John_C's original post, et. al. [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/bravo.gif" alt="bravo" title="bravo[/img]


Reformed and Always Reforming,
Re: History Supports A-Mil [Re: J_Edwards] #3349
Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:12 PM
Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:12 PM

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In reply to:
[color:"blue"]Colin: "Thus, you would find great difficulty in looking for any pre-20th century exponent of Amillennialism."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joe respond: Quite a contrast of what you posted last time in response to the history of A-Mil vs. Post-Mil:

Colin: "I could easily grant that Amill is older or as old as postmillennialism....."



My latter comment was clearly a hypothetical one. Keep in mind that there are several overlaps between Amillenialism and postmillennialism. Thus, those doctrinal areas where Amillennialism is in agreement with postmillennialism is what I was referring to.

In reply to:
[color:"blue"]So are you Pre-post or Post-post? Like the waves of the sea you suddenly are set adrift again--crashing here, crashing there. Sounds like you have backslidden once again into historical error--and that your own!!



I like to point out that my own use of the word "backslidden" in my previous post was applied exclusively to the system of Amillennialism, and was not used in any Ad Hominem fashion that Joe applies it here to me.

In reply to:
[color:"blue"]And did you notice that you never offered a refutation of the historical A-Mil comments in our previous postings (i.e. concerning Hippolytus, Victorinus, et. al.)



I did offer an indirect rebuttal to them in my citation of an article by Jack Van Deventer. But trying to settle modern eschatological details from the writings of the Ante-Nicene fathers is a waste of effort. And keep in mind that your "Hippolytus" reference was based on a modern interpretation of his views, rather than a direct citation of the orginal sources.

In reply to:
[color:"blue"]or even here

.

I cited Dr. Nigel Lee's online book as a rebuttal.

In reply to:
[color:"blue"]Where's the beef, substance, and evidence of your assertions?



I have already provided that in previous threads.

In reply to:
[color:"blue"]It appears that you now need to do some back-peddling to support your backsliding views



Nope, there is nothing I need to "back pedal" from.

In reply to:
[color:"blue"]Moses' Law for Modern Gov't. covers the rest of the theological "questions" of John_C's original post, et. al.



This article is filled with several errors that I can point out at a later time. Suffice to say that the Ligon Duncan article is severly undermined by the lack of crucial footnoted references, for he makes numerous assertions without any substantiation given (except presumably in the elusive off-line footnotes). Also, it is not a theological analysis of the topic, but rather an attempt at a sociological analysis and critique. And one that is easily refuted by reading the primary source material of Theonomy and Postmillennialism.

A much better article is [u]The Five Points of Christian Reconstruction[/u].

And [u]Theonomy: What It Is, What It Is Not[/u]

Colin



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