In my life, I have run the gambit of hermetical views. Like most Americans, I was born and bred into the dispensational understanding. I credit the church where I grew up for actually offering young students an opportunity to take a class in Biblical Instruction. Too many Evangelical churches today neglect this aspect of their internal discipling, assuming this flank is covered already. But that’s a side issue.
I have a firm grasp of the dispensational view, which requires a premil understanding of the second coming. Having been trained later in covenantal hermeneutics and having been convinced that they are more true to the nature of the text, I rejected dispensationalism, which really freaked my dad out. For real. He questioned whether I was even a Christian any longer. But that’s why we need to realize that this is more than an understanding of eschatology. It is a hermeneutic, a way of understanding how we should approach/interpret the Bible. My hermeneutic changed, but my faith in Jesus didn’t.
For several years, I followed a Historic Premil viewpoint. Nothing wrong with that. It allows you to converse with your dispensational brothers on somewhat equal terms. Unfortunately, it also requires you to assume along with them that everything is going to suck and get suckier until the second coming of Jesus, and there’s literally nothing you can do. Sure, you can spread the gospel and send missionaries, but that is just a way of sending out a life boat for those who want to escape the wrath that is to come, not a way of building something better.
As I searched for something better, a sermon series consisting of 81 sermons helped me immensely! Arturo Azurdia has fallen into sin, like all of us are prone to do, but that doesn’t discount the sermons in this series. If you want to have a comprehensive understanding of the Amil position, and really a good hermeneutic for the entire Bible, I recommend this series to you wholeheartedly.
Revelation Series by Arturo G. Azurdia III
I’ve been an Amillennialist for a number of years now. It is a historic viewpoint, and until not too long ago it and the Postmil viewpoint were entwined. I’m no church historian, but at some point, there was a fork in the road and now the Amil view and the Postmil view are separated, but not by a whole lot. Most notably, postmil guys will refer to amil guys as being pessimistic while they are seen as the optimistic guys. Frankly, I abhor this tactic. It smells too much like a scarecrow argument you would see from the Mainstream Media, truth be told, and as Christians we should be above this. Or is it more Ad Hominem? Maybe a little of both.
Another thing that kept me from stretching my knowledge too much was the study performed by others. I have written about my regret for grounding myself in the teaching of John Piper or Albert Mohler. And even while admitting my shortcomings, I was content to think that I was OK staying with an Amil understanding because James White held that, and he is a brilliant apologist and historian, so I must be on stable ground.
As James White would affirm, he is not the bedrock that makes the ground stable. And when he “came out” as someone who was convinced that the postmil view was correct, that was an event to take note of. I had been curious about this view before, but unwilling to give it too much attention. Partly because I had changed enough. Partly because I believed that someone smarter than I adhered to it so it must be legitimate. Enter the video “On Earth As It Is In Heaven.”
I’ll be straight with you. This video, along with a lot of books I’ve been reading, has me thinking. Maybe my Amil views aren’t enough. There are certain objections I had to my understanding of the postmil position. The ones I’ve thought of so far are answered in this video. Like anyone outside the dispensational camp, my understandings are being challenged, and we’ll see if my hermeneutic can support my concepts.
I am wary about changing a position that changes so many other aspects of life just because someone else did and I don’t want you, the reader, to come away thinking that’s all it took to have me questioning. James White’s change didn’t change me. Rather, it gave me another layer of permission to look into the Postmil viewpoint. That’s not to say that I didn’t respect the scores of Postmil guys I had been reading. I just have one fewer Amil guy to follow, and as a Christian unfamiliar with original texts etc, that does make a difference. Amil now feels a bit like the Panmil position, which is kinda sorta not a position at all, but a resting point. I say this, but Amil is far from a niche position that lacks credulity. Let’s just say that I’m less convinced of it now than I was before.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:22-26
If you’ve read this far, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Paradise Restored by David Chilton.