Thursday, September 19, 2013
ESCHATOLOGY IS JUST A big word for the study of what the Bible says about the future. Sam Storm's, Kingdom Come, The Amillennial Alternative is a helpful study of this subject. I think it will prove to be a classic.
The Bible says much about the future. And, in the last century Evangelicals have given an inordinate amount of mental energy to this subject, and for some, it has become a fighting matter. At the heart of the issue is the millennium, a subject directly discussed only once in Revelation 20. Despite this one oblique reference, Christians have taken a strong, and often unyielding stand, on their interpretation of the future. The church has divided into three interpretations.
The first is Postmillennial, meaning Jesus will return after a millennium (thousand years) of church prosperity. For some the millennium is literal. To others it is a long period of time. Up until the last 100 years, most of the Reformers, in fact most Christians, were Postmillennial.
The second approach is Premillennial, meaning Jesus will return to reign on earth for a literal thousand years. Premillenials have been around since the early church, but were always a small minority until the rise of Dispensational Premillennialism after WWII. Premillenialism is the most common position in today's evangelical world.
The third is Amillennialism, meaning the millennium is a symbol for a long period of time, i.e. the period between Christ's first coming and his second coming. There is no physical 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Amillennialism is a variant on Postmillennialism and has also grown popularity since WWII. The difference is that the spiritual prosperity for which Postmillennials hope in this world, Amillennials hope for in the New Creation.
Storm's book is an argument for Amillennialism.
Dr. Storms came to Christ in a Dispensational, Premillennial environment. He attended Dallas Theological Seminary, the bastion of Dispensational Premillennial thought. He even taught theology there. However, as he examined the scripture he began to encounter problems with Dispensational Premillennial teaching. This book is the fruit of these concerns marinated in years of careful thought.
Storms writes clearly and convincingly. Kingdom Come contains excellent chapters on the hermeneutics of Eschatology, the history of Premillennialism, the current popularity of Premillennialism, and chapters on all the controversial chapters that deal with eschatology in the Bible. Storms is gracious with his opponents, and in my view his argument is convincing.
This is a book that I heartily recommend. To those curios to know more about eschatology this volume will be helpful. For those curios to know more about the view of those with whom they disagree, hopefully many, this volume will also be greatly helpful.
Posted by Pastor Bill Farley at 9:27 PM