Partial-Preterist Post-Millenialist

One of the courses I am engaged in this term has been a look at the Doctrine of the Last Things or better labeled “Eschatology”. In this class we have barely yet to scratch the surface as far as ripping apart the pertinent texts like Matthew 25, Revelation 20, 1 Thess 4 & 5, and 2 Thess 2. Before taking this course I had not thought through this stuff very much as where I was before put little to no emphasis on these type of subjects and never had a reason to “stake out a territory” so to speak. So after reading other books prior to this class and in reading an excellent book by Cornelis Venema (an optimistic A-Mill) and beginning a work by Marcellus Kik (a Post-Mill) I have come to the following conclusions (for now)…

1) I believe in Partial Preterism.

What does that mean? Basically it means that I hold that the majority of the events prophesied in Scripture dealing with the “end times” refer to and were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple cult by the Romans in A.D. 70.

2) I believe the Millennium is symbolic.

The literal 1,000 years that Dispensational Pre-Millennialists push is not Scriptural or in keeping with the Biblical text. In other words the reference to 1,000 years in Revelation 20 is not meant to be taken as a literal 1,000 years.

3) I believe that Christ will come back at the end of the Millennium

Which makes me a post-millennialist (also one thing that A-Mills and Post-Mills share).

4) I believe that Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

I would highly recommend Ken Gentry’s work here. Basically that the Book of Revelation was written during the reign of Nero. Also that Nero Caesar is the sixth king who is the one who is in Revelation 17:10.

Suggested Reading List

An Eschatology of Victory by Marcellus Kik

The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul, Sr.

Before Jerusalem Fell by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

He Shall Have Dominion by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Post-Millenialism: An Eschatology of Hope by Keith Mathison

Days of Vengeance by David Chilton

The Promise of the Future by Cornelis Venema

This will be the first of several posts on Eschatological issues that will help flesh out my beliefs and illustrate how and why the Scriptures teach what I have professed above.

And Another Thing…

This Post grew out of a response I gave to a question posited by “Bob” in a thread on Toby’s Classical Presbyterian Blog.

Bob,

Considering a good 90% of modern American Christians are at the least Semi-Pelagian you have quite a question that I believe needs to be SERIOUSLY considered and prayed about in a manner befitting Gethsemane. We fret over (albeit very serious as well) sexuality issues while allowing many of our “evangelical” conservative brethren to preach a gospel of Works Salvation that is in many ways more endangering to the future and health of Christendom than the ills of Liberal social ethics. We tolerate the abominable teachings of Finney, Graham, and others while fighting the onslaught of liberalism in a separate arena. Both problems, Arminianism and Liberalism, ultimately are cut from the same cloth hermenuetically. They each want to place the value of Salvation upon the unworthy shoulders of beings that cannot bear the weight of their own sin. Whether in Finney’s theology (see an excellent critique here) that weight is paid by generic “good works” or Liberalism’s “Social Gospel” salvation, which like Finney, comes to embrace Process Theology (a modern-day heresy in its own right) and the idea that Christ’s death and resurrection is not enough for salvation but merely places one in the position to move in the direction of salvation by checking off various benchmarks on the way to earning a place in the kingdom through various “good works”.

The point here is that while it is good that “evangelicals” are fighting the false diversity of Liberal social ethics at the same time they are no better if they deny Sola Fide in the process. To paraphrase something I heard Michael Horton say one time on the White Horse Inn it strikes me as odd that a term like “evangelicalism” can encompass such a broad spectrum of people to include both Benny Hinn and R.C. Sproul who could not be farther away systematically if they tried but are seen as the same because of their shared views on a very narrow slice of theological pie. My Reformed brethren we have to be careful with whom we lie down with and cast our arm around to win secular political battles when in doing so we put ourselves in danger of losing the Kingdom entirely.

Two Book Recommendations

I am currently reading two wonderful books as a distraction to the Greek class I am taking this summer (by the way Greek is 100 times easier for me than Hebrew). Here they are:

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
by Loraine Boettner

This book is an excellent resource for pastors looking for help in teaching the “laity” about the Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, just like the title implies :). It is in an easy to understand format with more than enough Scripture references to keep you busy for hours. Boettner’s prose is light and gives even the most basic reader no troubles. He even includes chapters on the most common critiques of Predestination by Arminians and others to enable your congregations the ability to fight off attacks from their neighbors.


Power Religion:
The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church?
ed. by Michael Horton
w/ essays by Charles Colson, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, Alister McGrath, and others.
A work that gives a detailed and disciplined polemic against the so-called “power gospel” that is currently infesting the “Evangelical” world. Although the book was written way back in the mid-90’s it is
eerily current and equally full of keen insights and bothersome revelations about the future of the American Church.

The Pelagian Captivity of the Church

How fitting that R.C. Sproul’s lovely article on the Pelagian Captivity of the Church appears this month on the White Horse Inn website. This message that Sproul presents is a mandatory read for all who wonder about the status of our Reformed faith in today’s world. Sproul spells out exactly what has infected this era-the same thing that has always infected the church-the devaluation of the Grace of God and the promotion of the personal ability of man. Even during the dark days of Reformation the Romanists and the Reformers could agree on at least one doctrine-that of Original Sin. We find our church today infiltrated by the disciples of Pelagius who seek to elevate the person to a status that we neither deserve to attain nor are we able to receive without the purposeful sacrifice of the lamb on Calvary and deny the worthiness of Christ’s sacrifice by tossing the need for the sacrifice out the window. If we could be saved by perfect obedience to the law there is no need for the sacrifice. If we can work off our own death what is the need for the atonement?

http://www.modernreformation.org/rc01pelagian.htm