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#8625 Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:43 PM
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In another forum, I posted that the majority of Reformed are a-mill in their eschatology, but that within recent decades post-mill is becoming popular, mainly in the Theonomy ranks. <br><br>Is that statement correct, partially or completely wrong?


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In reply to:
posted that the majority of Reformed are a-mill in their eschatology, but that within recent decades post-mill is becoming popular, mainly in the Theonomy ranks.

Is that statement correct, partially or completely wrong?

John,

I would say "partially" correct. grin The problem that always comes up is that the term "Amillennialism" wasn't always used to describe the view as it does in modern days. See the somewhat lengthy "Brief History . . ." below. Also, there are many Postmillennialists who do not embrace full-blown Bahnsenian "Theonomy/Reconstructionism". There are several brothers on this Board who are decidedly Postmil but reject Theonomy.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AMILLENNIALISM


The view which today is known as Amillennialism has a long history of advocacy going back to the beginning of the Christian era. Since the fourth and fifth centuries, it has been the predominant position within the Christian church. Though Premillennialism has had its advocates throughout the history of the Christian church and has enjoyed a resurgence recently among conservative evangelicals in North America, it is safe to say that Amillennialism has been the consensus position of the largest portion of the Christian church. Louis Berkhof is correct when he remarks as follows regarding Amillennialism:

Some Premillenarians have spoken of Amillennialism as a new view and as one of the most recent novelties, but this is certainly not in accord with the testimony of history. The name is new indeed, 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)1

Though Berkhof does not mention the claim of many present-day postmillennialists that Amillennialism, not Postmillennialism, is the relative newcomer, his observations are applicable to this claim.

It is generally agreed that though the view known today as Amillennialism was already present in the earliest period of the Christian church, the great church father, Augustine, was instrumental in establishing this view as the predominant one. By treating the millennium of Revelation 20 as a symbolical description of the church’s growth in the present age, Augustine gave impetus to the amillennialist contention that the millennium does not follow chronologically the early history of the New Testament church. With the exception of some exponents of Premillennialism, the tenets of amillennialist teaching prevailed throughout the Middle Ages and during the Reformation. The Reformers were aligned with this broad tradition, though soon after the Reformation advocates of Postmillennialism arose especially within the Reformed tradition.

However strong the influence of Postmillennialism may have been within the Reformed churches, especially in North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the predominant view today is that of Amillennialism. Though advocates of Postmillennialism are found among the Reformed churches, and though the majority of conservative evangelicals in North America are premillennialists, the prevailing view among the Reformed churches and the Christian church, broadly conceived, remains that of Amillennialism.2 Where the historic creeds and confessions address themselves to the subject of the future, they are more congenial to an amillennialist view than to the other major millennial views. This is true of the Reformed confessions, though they do not explicitly address some of the differences between Amillennialism and Postmillennialism.3

Footnotes

1. Systematic Theology, p. 708. The following sources offer representative presentations of the amillennial view: A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future; idem, ‘Amillennialism’, in The Meaning of the Millennium, ed. Robert G. Clouse, pp. 155-88; G. Vos, The Pauline Eschatology; G. C. Berkouwer, The Return of Christ; William E. Cox, Amillennialism Today (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1972); William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1939); and Robert B. Strimple, ‘Amillennialism’, in Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, ed. Darrell L. Bock, pp. 81-129.

2. Though the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches do not have a dogmatic position on the millennium, their traditions have commonly identified the kingdom of Christ with the church during the present age. If the term applies, therefore, they are amillennial in outlook.

3. The one exception to this pattern may be the Second Helvetic Confession of 1566. This confession was first written by Heinrich Bullinger, Zwingli’s successor and an influential Reformer in his own right, and later adopted by the Swiss Reformed churches as a confession of their faith. Next to the Heidelberg Catechism, it has been the most popular Reformed confession among the international family of Reformed churches. This confession seems to condemn Postmillennialism when it declares: ‘Moreover we condemn the Jewish dreams that before the day of judgement there shall be a golden age in the earth, and that the godly shall possess the kingdoms of the world, their wicked enemies being trodden under foot; for the evangelical truth (Matt. 24 and 25, Luke 21), and the apostolic doctrine (in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians 2, and in the Second Epistle to Timothy 3 and 4) are found to teach far otherwise’ (Chap. 11; quoted from The Creeds of Christendom, ed. Philip Schaff (1931; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985], III: p. 853.
In His Grace,


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I think what the church is starting to recognize in this area is the significance of 70 A.D. as it applies to the Olivet Discourse. <br><br>Ron

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Ron, <br><br>You are referencing the partial preterist view which is becoming popular. <br><br>A question - Does the partial preteriest view require that John wrote his Revelation before 70 AD, not around 95 AD that has been the more dominant view?


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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Ron, <br><br>You are referencing the partial preterist view which is becoming popular. <br><br>A question - Does the partial preteriest view require that John wrote his Revelation before 70 AD, not around 95 AD that has been the more dominant view? <br><br>John Chaney</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Yes, I am, John. <br><br>I don't see any contradiction between partial preterism and a late dating of the book of Revelation. Do you think that presents a problem?<br><br>Ron<br>

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I really don't fully understand partial preterist, although others have tried to explain it to me. I just had the opinion that most advocates of partial preteriest believed in the early dating of John, in the late 60s AD. <br><br>In a way it appears as the advocates of partial preteriest are developing a new theory, just as the hated dispensational pre-mills did in the early part of the 20th century. Is it one extreme to another?


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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]I really don't fully understand partial preterist, although others have tried to explain it to me. I just had the opinion that most advocates of partial preteriest believed in the early dating of John, in the late 60s AD. <br><br>In a way it appears as the advocates of partial preteriest are developing a new theory, just as the hated dispensational pre-mills did in the early part of the 20th century. Is it one extreme to another? </font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Oh no, this is not new at all. Calvin, Matthew Henry and other notables held to this view. In a nutshell, it sees Matthew's account of the Olivet Discourse the same as Luke's. Jesus said that "all these things" would be fulfilled in the generation of his hearers. Just as he promised, the temple was destroyed. Many a dispensationalist appreciates that Luke's gospel is referring to 70 A.D. However, they deny that Matthew was referring to the same catastrophic events. I could get into the details of their reasoning if you like, but I'd probably put most people to sleep.<br><br>Blessings,<br><br>Ron<br><br>

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Ron,<br><br>Is it not also true that it is possible to hold to a Partial Preterist interpretation, at least to a certain degree and yet hold to Amillennialism on the main? [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/grin.gif" alt="grin" title="grin[/img] Wouldn't Jay E. Adams be in this group?<br><br>


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Pilgrim,<br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Is it not also true that it is possible to hold to a Partial Preterist interpretation, at least to a certain degree and yet hold to Amillennialism on the main? Wouldn't Jay E. Adams be in this group?</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Yes. Dr. Robert Reymond takes a partial-preterist approach in the Olivet Discourse, and appears to follow Hendriksen's approach in the Book of Revelation. I believe Jay Adams is also a partial-preterist/Amil. <br><br><br>in Christ,<br>Carlos<br>

Last edited by carlos; Tue Dec 09, 2003 6:43 PM.

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Ron, <br><br>Thanks for your responses. I might show my ignorance but bare with me. I still have further questions/observations. Others may want to jump aboard on this as well. Let's leave Dispy Pre-mill out of it for now. <br><br>Since many will agree that prophecy in the Olivet discourse were fulfilled including the Temple being destroyed in 70 AD, what are partial preterist trying to say beyond that? It must be more to it. Throughout the Bible, many prophecies had/will have a double fulfillment. Does that come into play in reading Matthew 24. Is it possible to be a partial preteriest and not be a post-mill? What does the partial preteriest share with full preterism. I realize full preterism is an heresy, but is there some common ground between the two? <br><br>I just don't understand why so many make such a big deal in being a partial preteriest, especially in light of Pilgrim's insert on a-mill below. <br><br>I guess I may never understand these issues.

Last edited by John_C; Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:02 PM.

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John,<br><br>You keep this up and you will end up being a PanMillennialist!! People who hold to that view believe that everything will pan out in the end! [Linked Image]<br><br>


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Out of curiosity (and a little ignorance, for that matter [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/smile.gif" alt="smile" title="smile[/img]), what is this Olivet discourse to which you guys are referring? it may be something obvious that i'm just passing over, here. <br>troy


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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]what is this Olivet discourse to which you guys are referring?</font><hr></blockquote><p>Matthew chapters 24 and 25. [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/grin.gif" alt="grin" title="grin[/img]<br><br>


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Pilgrim #8638 Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:08 PM
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Pan-Mill is the only one with 100% certainty.<br><br>Although I put myself in the a-mill camp (mainly because my spiritual disciplers were), I see this as applying to Deuteronomy 29:29 in that much of these matters belong to the secret things of God. 1 Thessolonians addresses much of the basics that Scripture reveals to us.


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Yup, definitely a question of ignorance[img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/smile.gif" alt="smile" title="smile[/img] man do i fell sheepish!


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