Review of the Criswell Millennial Debate

This is worth a listening to.  I haven’t yet listened to the non-premil positions.  I plan to listen to Beale’s.  I’ve read so much of Gentry and Bahnsen I am really wondering if I should bother.   I’m iffy on Listening to Preston’s.  It’s just hard to get excited about listening to a heretical position.

Per the premil views:

Thomas:  Classic Dispensationalism–I’ve been guilty in the past of not preparing for a message.  I think we see this here.  He makes a couple of distinctions between his view and the progressive view, but I am not entirely sure what his point was.  He didn’t make an actual argument and he ran out of time.  Even worse, I don’t think he even cared.

Blaising:  Progressive Dispensationalism–this is pretty good, actually.   It sounds very covenantal and he appropriates the insights made by Ladd and others, yet retains the emphasis on God’s promises.   It was more of a distinction of his position vis-a-vis with dispensationalism and little critique of amillennialism.

Blomberg:   Blomberg basically explains his interest in historic premillennialism, and it is interesting.  He really doesn’t develop his position and he certainly doesn’t offer a critique of the others.  Even worse, he wasn’t always speaking into the microphone.


6 comments on “Review of the Criswell Millennial Debate

  1. The preterism of Ken Gentry et al is extremely dangerous for one reason and one reason alone: it denies that the Pope is the antichrist. As a result, “Reformed” Christians in the United States tend to see evil in overwhelmingly materialistic terms (which, ironically, is strangely similar to a Marxist definition of evil). They fail to realise that our greatest enemy is false Christianity, especially that embodied in the Papacy. When someone thinks that the antichrist is “big government”, a corrupt politician, or some middle-eastern ruler, then it should not surprise us when they go soft on spurious forms of Christianity such as Popery. Instead of worrying about the idolatry of the antichristians, the focus is all on abortion and homosexuality or other second-table issues (failing to recognise that our idolatry is the root of these second-table offences). The idea that Nero was the antichrist only goes to further demonstrate their gross materialism. Nero may have killed a lot of people, but the Papacy has spiritually murdered millions more.

    For my part, I will stick with historicist postmillennialism of Stephen Dilday and others. Amillennialism cannot deal with the two resurrections or the binding of satan in Revelation 20. Premillennialism’s interpretation of Rev. 20 is better, but it fails to properly compare scripture with scripture; thus its exegesis of Rev. 20 runs contrary to a common sense reading of many more plain biblical passages which clearly teach that the return of Christ and the physical resurrection only occurs at the last day. And note that Revelation 20 says nothing about Christ reigning on earth, that is read into the text not derived from it. Of course, there is a non-chiliastic variant of premilliennialism that was held to by some Puritans (only one physical resurrection); I wonder if anyone advocates this today?

  2. Benjamin P. Glaser says:

    Very much agreed Daniel. While Amillenialism seems to be the default setting for most of the Reformed world in America (mostly, I think, because people are so put off by Gentry, et al’s Post-Millennialism and the loony nature of dispy premill that Amill is a safe place to hide) I keep coming back to Historic Post-Mill.

  3. I plan to do a future post showing how postmil and premil have much in common.

  4. Mark says:

    I have been a historicist postmil for many years, having mostly influenced by Dr. Whitby’s theory (listened a lot of Dr. Dilday), read many many stuff on this subject. But through many recent studies into patristics, I am open again to premil as something that is also valid.

    The recent study into the influence of Psuedo D. and Neo-platonism in the church both Latin (including Protestants) and Greek, makes the Papal antichrist theme more and more solid, giving me solid ground to explain a hidden spiritual connection between many protestant churches to the Church of Rome.

  5. olivianus says:

    I am Historicist Post Mil, identifying the Pope as Antichrist myself.

  6. Chris Poe says:

    I would have to listen to the messages to be sure. But along with somewhat less of an emphasis on the sharp dichotomy between the Church and Israel, one of the main objections of traditional dispensationalists against progressive dispensationalism is the latter’s position that the Kingdom has been inaugurated and that Christ is currently ruling and reigning from heaven (albeit this rule is not manifested in the way that it will be in the Millennium.) While almost all of them seem to have retained a belief in pretribulationism, the Progressives (perhaps especially Bock and Blaising) are influenced by Ladd’s inaugurated eschatology and emphasis on already/not yet.

    Dr. Russell Moore goes into this development in some detail in his “Kingdom of Christ.” He also notes Ladd’s influence upon contemporary Amillennialism, Hoekema in particular.

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