Thursday, September 03, 2009

Good men = good views? Yes, and not necessarily... respectively

This starts with m'man Andy Naselli noting that Dr. Thomas Schreiner has evidently gone from amill to premill.

Well, that's great. I'm happy for Schreiner, he should be premill. Everybody should be premill. You have to understand, to me, that's a bit like saying that someone has gone from thinking the world is flat to thinking it's more of a spherical sort of thing: that's great, I'm happy for you, welcome aboard... er, what took you?

I've been listening to Schreiner's sermon.
In it, Dr. Schreiner makes the point that "good Christians have different views on the millennium" — and that will be my focus.

The professor is absolutely right. I'll go one better: excellent Christians, some of the very best Christians ever, hold different views on the millennium.

I'll be more expansive still — and anyone who's heard me much, has heard me say this.
  • Some of the very best Christians who ever lived think that attaching spiritual significance to sprinkling water on babies makes any kind of New Covenant sense, and further think that it has some relation to what the Bible calls "baptism."
  • Some of the very best Christians who ever lived think churches should be run by majority-vote.
  • Some of the very best Christians who ever lived think the Christian Church is Israel, and that all of the OT prophecies of judgment on Israel are literal and apply to ethnic Israel, while all of the OT prophecies of blessing are spiritual and apply to the post-Pentecost church.
Anyone who knows me knows I don't say these things to "sound gracious," or to "sound humble." To me, those statements are duh-statements, on the level of saying that water is "powerful wet stuff." I mean, good heavens — Machen? Calvin? Knox? the Hodges? Warfield? Dabney? E. J. Young? John Owen? Hel-lo? You're kidding me, right?

Here's the problem. The implication some people would draw from this statement is, "...so these other views are good views, too."


Well no, they're really not, to my mind. At least not equally.

For instance, that baby-sprinkling thing. It is not a good view. It is a bad view held by good (excellent!) men. I have heard it explained by men of whom I seriously think very highly... and it just gets more and more absurd with each telling.

Or take the "spiritual Israel" thing. Splendid men hold that view. But it's not a good view. It's a bad view held by good men. E. J. Young was one of the most wonderful OT scholars ever to put words on paper. But when he explains that Isaiah 2 is all about the Christian church's missionary efforts, but Isaiah 4 is about literal judgment on ethnic Israel, that isn't the text talking. It's a good man expressing a bad view.

I'm not sure why this is such a difficult concept. I've been in countless discussions where, "Well, ____ holds that view" is adduced as if it were an argument. As if I'm going to say, "What? Carson? You mean D. A. Carson? Great howling potato bugs, I'm changing my view!"

Insofar as the point is "It isn't as it only pinheads believe X; after all, A B and C are hardly pinheads, and they believe X," I grant the point. Just don't try to make more of it than it is. Great men can be wrong. In fact, great men are always wrong about something.

And the greatest of the greats would be the first to admit it.

This comes up afresh in some connection with today's Pyro post. Unless I've pre-emptively headed them off, I'll be very surprised if someone doesn't say, "But Dr. FamousEvangelical loves the TNIV, Professor Calvinhead was on the committee, and Pastor BelovedPreacher thinks pluralizing singles wins more souls than Whitefield ever did."

And I'll say, "What a great guy. What a bad idea."
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe
(Proverbs 29:25)
POSTSCRIPT: isn't this awfully arrogant of me? Since arrogance is a sin, and I'm woefully vulnerable to any sin, that's a strong possibility. All I can tell you is that, in these cases, my honest thought is that the data is really strong and clear, and my honest feeling is along the lines of "Good heavens, if even a pinhead like me can see that...."

65 comments:

Mark Patton said...

This is why you are a must read for me (almost) everyday. I did not know you (we) existed. I made a journey from your typical today Baptist church soteriology to Calvinism and wondered if I needed to "chuck" everything else I had learned. There is a strong push to be totally "reformed." But I never could understand why the promises of the OT were spiritualized.
Then I came across Pyro and followed to here and it has been a great blessing. Have you officially started a Calvadisp.....denomination yet? Anyway, thanks for bloggin'. And thanks for waving the sola scriptura banner.

Solameanie said...

Hairsplitter!

Just kidding. That's interesting given the level of attack these days at those of us who are premillennial. It always amazes me that the amils seem to have a literal hermeneutic until they get to eschatology.

DJP said...

Yep.

If they brought the excellent hermeneutics they apply to Romans and Ephesians to the Prophets, they'd be dispensational.

If they handled the former as they handle the latter, they'd be universalists, or worse.

I think it is preserving grace that prevents that consistency.

And let me hasten to say with heartfelt sincerity that I do not doubt I'm at least equally the beneficiary of such grace myself. I fully expect that a seat has already been reserved for me in Remedial Theology 101 for the duration of the Milliennial Kingdom, right alongside my brothers of other persuasions.

JackW said...

"The best of men are men at best."

witness said...

Dan you expressed perfectly how I feel about how those Christian greats can see a pre-trib rapture instead of the post-trib one clearly taught in Scripture!

Wow! :-)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I really like the picture of the woman with a look of dubious skepticism! That fits the topic and theme of this post perfectly!

Good post! Both here and on TeamPyro today.

Solameanie said...

Dan,

Would "Remedial Theology 101" be the dispensational Protestant equivalent of purgatory?

You must be careful of things like that. Now obsessive banned stalker troll OSO will post something likely accusing you of having popish sentiments.

CR said...

You know, here is the question in mind: why is it that the Holy Spirit is allowing significant differences on significant issues like baptism or eschatology. I mean, thinking, there had to be a point in Christendom history, where the church was substantially right, on the issues, no?

Dan, do you think the Didache would be helpful here? It was divided into a few sections if I'm not mistaken, baptism, Lord's Supper, fasting and end times? No? I mean we don't have to get into the pendantics of the rituals but at least on understanding of the core issues, wouldn't it shed some light on important theological issues of what the early church affirmed?

Stan McCullars said...

CR,
We will always have the poor with us. Apparently, we will also always have those who don't understand baptism correctly.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'm not sure why this is such a difficult concept. I've been in countless discussions where, "Well, ____ holds that view" is adduced as if it were an argument. As if I'm going to say, "What? Carson? You mean D. A. Carson? Great howling potato bugs, I'm changing my view!".

I don't think those folks necessarily want you to change your view when they drop names. I think what they're after is having everyone shrug their shoulders, call the issue a non-essential, take their dose of epistemic humility, and slowly wear out of you and everyone else any sort of conviction and certitude.

That's the context I get it in. "Well, if even Piper and MacArthur disagree, surely simple-minded folk like me don't have to spend the time and do the work to try and figure out what the right answer is!"

Rachael Starke said...

"All I can tell you is that, in these cases, my honest thought is that the data is really strong and clear, and my honest feeling is along the lines of "Good heavens, if even a pinhead like me can see that...."

Words which, one hopes and assumes, have also been expressed by many an amill and baby-sprinkling brother and sister. (And by brother and sister, I mean that literally - I married into a family of paedobaptists with amill leanings, out of a family of rabid premillennial Baptists. It's a wonder I made it down the aisle.) :)

Words very close to that were probably also expressed by generations of Jewish leaders in the O.T. era as they scoured the teachings of the prophets for just who the Messiah would be and when He would arrive. Just trying to do the math to count up how many of them got it right..... :)

Which is stunning, because when we read Isaiah, it makes absolute perfect sense.

Talk about the original pinheads!

And let's not forget the disciples on the road to Emmaus incredulously asking the Man who was walking with them if hHe'd been living under a rock and didn't know what had been going on.... :)

All that to say - I agree 100% that good men (and women) can hold bad views. That's a big step up from the world today, where only if you hold to my views are you a good man or woman. (And if you don't you're a moron, an output mechanism for human waste(to sanitize a phrase from an Obama administration official about Republicans), or really don't deserve to be alive (as I've been told).

But if we look a all those examples from Scripture, is it going too far to say that we might be missing God's point? Isaiah seems like a pretty straightforward book, but generations of Jews missed it. Revelation, Daniel 9, Mark 13 (this morning's reading!) - not so much with the straightfoward. Doesn't Mark himself seem to hint in 13:13 that he's just passing on what he heard and is really hoping us readers understand it better than he did?

Oh dear. This comment probably makes about as much sense as Mark 13. :)

I think what I'm trying to say is that it's what comes after we decide that a good man holds a bad view that is the kicker. And when we've got guys quarrelling over how to not quarrel, I'm really tempted to just throw my hands up and say "Maranatha!" and give up.

Rachael Starke said...

Uh oh.

I think I just walked right into Mike's point as he was making it. :)

For the record, (as I'm going to pick up my kids and will be offline for the rest of the day), I'm not arguing that we should throw up our hands and walk away.

It's more like joining hands and doing everything we can to agree on what the signs seem to be pointing to with the goal of getting to our destination together.

And now Mike will also make that point much more clearly too. :)

trogdor said...

Fascinating. I wonder what Martin Luther would say about this.

CR said...

Rachael: (And by brother and sister, I mean that literally - I married into a family of paedobaptists with amill leanings, out of a family of rabid premillennial Baptists. It's a wonder I made it down the aisle.) :)

Well, Rachael, there is the Scripture that says (1 Pet 3:1) that you can win your husband over by not what you say but how you behave so I'm confident you can convert him believers' baptism and premillenialism. {Quadrupel :=)}

James Kime said...

Dan, you are so right on the early point you made. Just because good men hold to a certain position does not make that position good. There are not equally valid views on this issue.

Premills are correct. If amills bothered to study its origin, they would see the neoplatonic and/or gnostic elements that are used to interpret the apocalyptic portions of scripture.

Stefan said...

"Great howling potato bugs!"

I am so going to have to remember that one! It's bound to come in handy sooner or later.

The Squirrel said...

Great post Dan! Amen, and amen.

btw, I've been really busy with the new job. I still read everyday, but I'm usually too tired to comment. Keep up the good work!

:o)

~Squirrel

"Great howling potato bugs!" - LOL

Fred Butler said...

Hey Kime,
You're a NCT guy, at least I think I recall you going around and around with the Fide-o boys sometime back.

What's your take on the bulk of the NCT guys imbibing replacement theology and advocating amillennialism? If Dan will allow it.

James Kime said...

I think it is garbage, but most of them just carry over the same tired and uninformed eschatology of their CT days. They are just tired of all the doublespeak by CTers and law and nonlaws and laws that change but really don't and all that.

Some of the most prominent NCTers though are also premill. Fred Zaspel and Tom Wells are both premill. I think they are even pretrib. I am pretrib so I love that.

Schreiner might not accept all of NCT but he is alot closer to it than CT and he is now premill.

Piper says he is closer to NCT than anything else and he is premill.

Honestly, I think the more they work through the implications of NCT, the more will also embrace premill theology. That is my hope anyway.

Sorry Dan, I hope you didn't mind that ever so brief departure.

Stefan said...
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Stefan said...
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Stefan said...

CR:

I reread the Didache recently. It is very much worth reading—and it definitely takes a high view of sanctification.

Almost all of it seems to conform to the apostolic teaching that has been preserved in Scripture; but of course, not being Scripture, it can't be taken as authoritative.

Notice especially Chapter 9, regarding the Eucharist, which has some very nice blessings, but in which the words of Jesus preserved by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul are nowhere to be found (!).

That said, regarding a couple of hot-button issues:

Baptism (Chapter 7):

Baptism in "living [or 'running'] water"; or other water if not available; or warm water if not cold; or (as the last resort) by pouring water on the head three times (so immersion seems to be implied, with pouring as a backup option). The baptismal candidate was advised to fast one or two days before the baptism, as well.

Last Days (Chapter 16):

Be watchful; a falling away; the deceiver of the world will appear (cf. the "man of lawlessness"); a fiery trial; and what appears to be a posttribulational rapture, fitting into what is widely* understood to have been the premillennial eschatology of the early church.

* "Widely" = "even by liberal scholars"

Stefan said...

Okay, in light of the TNIV/NIV discussion elsewhere, "immerse in living water." Case closed!

(I wonder what "Dunk 'em till the last bubble pops" would be in koine Greek?)

Frank Turk said...

In an effort to comment here more regularly, I just wanted to point out that the reason I can't comment here more frequently is that someone on the internet is wrong.

In this case, Tom Schreiner.

:-)

DJP said...

Frank Turk, ladies and gentlemen. Frank Turk.

Fred and James — go ahead on more, if you like; that's fine. I'll just sit over here, monitoring, holding the taser.

James Kime said...

Dan, I have moved the discussion with Fred to email.

Don't taze me bro.

CR said...

Fred,

Not all of the the NCT guys are amill's. Jack Jeffrey is premillenial, but he's also full blown dispensational - no one is perfect. :=)

CR said...

I've always wondered this: have Dan or Frank ever deleted each other's comments on their own blogs as blog administrator? :=)

No, but seriously, I've always wondered, I hardly go to Frank's blog (and Dan has a much cooler picture of himself there then he does here), but when I do, I see Dan commenting, but I hardly see Frank commenting here. Just curious.

DJP said...

Oh darn, James; I was hoping to watch and learn.

CF - NCT and dispie? Okay, now, this is going to get confusing... where does he explain this? Dispies are by definition believers that Christians are not under the Law of Moses per se, which they have in common with NCT. Some dispies have not believed that the Church is under the NC prophesied by Jeremiah, holding that to be exclusively for Israel. I think most of us do not hold that, anymore.

But NCTs do tend to see the church as spiritual Israel, which dispies (like Paul) do not.

So I'm not sure what it would mean to be NCT and "full blown" dispensationalist.

CR said...

than not then. Haven't had my first cup of coffee yet.

CR said...

I'm sorry was that question meant for me or is there a CF in the house? And where does who explain what? Still haven't had my first cup of coffee yet.

DJP said...

Whoever.

:^P

Fred Butler said...

James,
I got your email, but for the sake of others who are waiting with baited breath...

My experience with the NCT crowd concerning eschatology, and I am thinking primarily of many of those on the Sound of Grace discussion group, along with the AZ branch with Steve Lehrer, is that they lean heavily to replacement theology simply because it represents God laying aside the Mosaic law and the fulfillment of the law of Christ. Hence, they see no physical restoration of the Jews in their land for that represents a going back to the OC, not looking forward to the NC.

The only one who has actually come close to even outlining and defending an eschatological theology for NCT has been Barry Horner, in his book "Future Israel," but that book was more of a polemic against errant views of eschatology rather than a positive defense of why NCT supports premillennialism.

CR said...

By full blown dispensationalism I mean that dispensationalism which distinguish's God's program for Israel from his program for the church and that the church is not presently fulfilling promises made to Israel in the OT that have not yet been fulfilled.

With regard to Paul being a dispensationalist, well, I would say he did mention at least three: one preceding the present time (Col 1:25-26); the present arrangement (Eph 3:2) and the future administration (Eph 1:10) and while the Paul did hint in Romans 11 that the Lord would save many Jews sometime in the future, I think the disagreement is whether there would be a "national" salvation of the Jews, which is my understanding of what full blown dispensationalists adhered to.

In terms of millenial views, the Bible's teaching on the premillenialism seems pretty clear.

DJP said...

Since Fred always corrects me PUBLICLY:

Since I never eat worms, I never have "baited" breath.

Occasionally, like during profitable discussions about prophecy, I do have bated breath.








Payback's... kinda rough, eh Fred?

:^P

Stan McCullars said...

CR,
I think the Bible's teaching on amillennialism seems pretty clear.

CR said...

Sorry, Stan, I respectfully but very strongly disagree. I never understood how amillennialism states that the Bible does not predict a period of the physical rule of Christ before the last judgment in light of Rev 20. (Well, I do, amillennialism just spiritualizes Rev 20 as a description of the souls of dead believers reigning with Christ in Heaven).

In my opinion, that simply does not pass the laugh or sniff test of Revelation's clear language.

DJP said...

Well, obviously, I think the Bible's teaching regarding amillennialism is pretty clear.

Fred Butler said...

Oh, Dan. That's a good one.

I consider it the wounds of a friend.

Stan McCullars said...

Amillennialism just spiritualizes Rev 20 and does not pass the laugh or sniff test of Revelation's clear language?

Clear language in Revelation?

Are we talking about the same book?

Apocalyptic literature is anything but clear at times.

Something that would not pass the laugh test would be for someone to suggest that premillennialism interprets Revelation literally and doesn't have its own share of interpretive difficulties.

Everyone spiritualizes or interprets most, if not all, of the symbols of Revelation symbolically.

Mike Riccardi said...

I would say he did mention at least three: one preceding the present time (Col 1:25-26); the present arrangement (Eph 3:2) and the future administration (Eph 1:10)...

And actually, Paul thought and taught that there were ages, plural, to come (Eph 2:7). So there's a past, a present, and at least two to follow.

I see this as a problem to those who hold that we're in the millennial kingdom now, because the only age to come after that is the eternal state. If we believe that Paul believes that there are ages to come, and not just an age to come, then we've got the millennial kingdom followed by the eternal state.

Mike Riccardi said...

I think the Bible's teaching on amillennialism seems pretty clear.

Then...

Clear language in Revelation? Are we talking about the same book? Apocalyptic literature is anything but clear at times.

How do we spirituali-- er, interpret these two statements?

DJP said...

It's remarkable you should mention apocaylpticism and Revelation; Fred just did a really fine article on the dangers of using "apocalyptic" as a category to dodge doing exegesis of Revelation.

That aside, the portion of Revelation 20 that unveils the length of the long-prophesied Millennial Kingdom is not apocalyptic. They are John's own interpretive comments, not visionary.

Fred Butler said...

I was about to link my self on this. If any one goes to my article to read it, check out that longer article I link by Andy Woods on Apocalyptism and Revelation. He provides a whole lot more detail as to why Revelation cannot be classified as apocalyptic.

DJP said...

Yes, I was actually pleasantly surprised that I beat you in linking to you.

James Kime said...

Dan, I took your words literally. I thought you were actually going to taze someone. To make sure that wasn't me, I moved it to email. Since reading your progressive thought on the matter, I feel confident enough to post again.

Fred, if you me and Dan were in the same room and he started toward us with a tazer, I am tripping you. Just sayin...

I am very familiar with John Reisinger. He is a good man with a bad view on the millenium.

I actually think NCTers need to think more on the OC to see the truth of premillenialism. The NT is enough to prove it. Jesus in the gospels, Peter early on, and Paul all spoke of a restoration for ethnic Jews one day. John just lays out for us how it will happen. It is the default view for John in Revelation. There is no argument for it. It just is.

While NCTers are right to emphasize the NC, the amill NCT guys fail to recognize that the OC did not create Israel. God told Moses that he heard the cries of his people for years. Israel existed prior to the OC. The OC added more responsibility and blessing to a relationship that already existed. Doing away with the OC does not do away with Israel. That is a hardcore fact that more NCTers need to see.

I will say this with regards to Dispensational theology. One of Ryrie's tenets of DT is a distinction between Israel and the church. I kind of agree with that but the emphasis is wrong. The distinction made again and again and again throughout the New Testament is a distiction between the OC and the NC. The death and resurrection of Christ are the events that changed everything.

DJP said...

I just finished listening to John Reisinger's mp3's on the sovereignty of God. Absolutely wonderful, rich, a joy to listen to.

I can never keep the brothers straight. I heard one of them — I think it was John — maybe ten years ago, saying that CTs and Dispies meet on a road coming from different directions. The CT tells the Dispie "There's nothing back there" (gesturing behind himself), and the Dispie says the same.

But while I'd fully agree with your last statement, it really depends on what you mean. Christ changes everything; but does He square circles and redefine A as -A? By that I mean: I affirm that all God's promises are "yea" and "amen" in Him. But it seems to me that CT makes an awful lot of the promises into "fooled you" and "just kidding."

On that, doesn't NCT do the same? Isaiah 2 is still the church's missionary spiritual successes, and Isaiah 4 is ethnic Israel's literal cursing? Or is it (like dispensationalism) not monolithic?

DJP said...

Oh, and the taser was just to keep the discussion on-track and friendly.

(c;

P.D. Nelson said...

Dan since I respect you very much but am neither dispensational nor premill I will have to say that on this we disagree. Oh and I am nether amil,theonomic, nor NCT.

But I did enjoy reading your post and shall continue to do so.

DJP said...

Please do! Agreement is in no way a requirement.

(c:

Stan McCullars said...

I read Fred's article. It was interesting but I find Beale far more convincing. Another book I find convincing is Dennis Johnson's Triumph of The Lamb.

James Kime said...

"Christ changes everything; but does He square circles and redefine A as -A? By that I mean: I affirm that all God's promises are "yea" and "amen" in Him. But it seems to me that CT makes an awful lot of the promises into "fooled you" and "just kidding.""

What I mean by Christ changing everying, I was speaking to the division in Scripture from OC to NC. That is the focus of when everything gets divided.

Israel is a word used throughout the NT to mean jews, saved and unsaved depending on the context. Gentiles are never called Israel in the NT. The promises and gifts of God are without changing of mind toward the people who right now are enemies of the gospel.

CTers reduce the promises to a form of trickery.

As for NCTers, well that is what we are talking about. NCT in and of itself does not have an official eschatological position. I think the reason so many are amill is because they found the light out of CT and are still in theological rehab.

I firmly hold to NCT and am pretrib/premill and don't make Israel mean anything more than God intended it to mean, descendants of Jacob.

Stefan said...

Dan:

For what it's worth...

My belief—and I'm just a schmo saved by the grace of God—is that the circle can be squared by understanding God's OT promises to be fulfilled at the time of the Millennium, during a time when large numbers of Jews will become believers in Christ, and the Church will once again thus have large numbers of Jewish believers—just as it did at the very beginning—thereby literally fulfilling such diverse texts as both Romans 11 and Isaiah 2, AND fulfilling God's promises in the OT to an Israel comprised of ingrafted Gentiles and the full number of believing Jews.

Does that make my view necessarily right? Of course not. Although this view is characteristic of posttribulationsim, which a few brothers have held to throughout church history (naming names would defeat the point of this post...). And for me as a believing Jew, it seems to be the most holistic and integrative view that still does justice (i.e., doesn't spiritualize away) all the prophetic and future-oriented texts in Scripture.

(Yeah, I know, "holistic" is a very New-Agey word, but, well, what can one do?)

DJP said...

All right, James, I'll bite. It sounds to me as if you check all the boxes that should make you a dispie. If you aren't, you're the only pre-trib dispie in all creation.

So what, to your mind, distinguishes Kime-ism from disensationamalism?

(c:

James Kime said...

Dan I really think that NCT needs to come full circle and be pretrib/premill. When I first got into NCT I never saw where I had to drop dispensationalism. I think some of the change in emphasis such as what I already mentioned is needed, OC vs NC instead of Israel vs Church.

Honestly though we could go right down the list and probably have no more differences than you would with another dispensationalist whose theology you would want to tweak a little bit.

Back when the Masters Seminary did their conference on NCT, they did so with the understanding that NCT = amill. At least that is what it seemed to me. The profs over and over said how much in common everything else is.

NCT pretrib/premill makes more sense than progressive dispensationalism also. PD just seems to make concessions to get closer to consensus.

James Kime said...

Sorry let me add this too, which I meant to on the previous post.

The same text that explicitly promises a New Covenant in great detail contains other promises as well.

It is inconsistent for any NCT to be anything but premill for this reason. They are strong on the first part of the promise but due to the same worn out supersessionist mentality from CT days, they miss the second part.

Jeremiah 31:31
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah...

Jeremiah 31:35-40
35 Thus says the Lord,who gives the sun for light by dayand the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,who stirs up the sea so that its waves roarĂ¢€”the Lord of hosts is his name: 36 If this fixed order departsfrom before me, declares the Lord,then shall the offspring of Israel ceasefrom being a nation before me forever. 37 Thus says the Lord:If the heavens above can be measured,and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,then I will cast off all the offspring of Israelfor all that they have done,declares the Lord. 38 Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lordfrom the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be uprooted or overthrown anymore forever.

It isn't just the same book and chapter, it is the next 6 verses. As long as this created order continues, God's word stands that Israel will own a specific plot of land forever.

DJP said...

Oh believe me, I'm totally there with you on that. I have often said (on this blog and elsewhere), in trying to dialogue with CTs: if you can read Jeremiah 31:35-40 and tell me there is no future for ethnic Israel, then we will have to conclude that Romans 8:28-30 doesn't guarantee any security or glory or anything for believers. Because the language of the latter is not one iota clearer nor more emphatic than the language of the former.

Well, it'd interest me to hear more. Once it pleases God to put me back into fulltime service of the Word, one of the things on my list is to read recent CT and dispie work, make sure I've read the best they have to offer, understand better.

I have certain ironclad non-negotiables. Calling myself a dispensationalist is not one of them. Holding to everything every dispensationalist holds is not either, nor is meeting Kim Riddlebarger's definitions of "Reformed" nor "Calvinist."

Fidelity to Scripture is, which includes the principles of sola Scriptura and perspicuity, which requires GHT (grammatico-historical theological) exegesis, which requires among other things the distinct perpetuity and blessed future of ethnic Israel.

Otherwise Jesus was (I speak as a fool) wrong to reproach the Jews for not getting what Scripture says. Otherwise, He really should have said, "Well, no one can blame you for not seeing these things; after all, not one of the authors could ever have guessed them, and not one of the hearers or readers could have imagined them, because it was all in code."

That's not what I glean from passages such as Luke 16:31 and John 5:45-47.

Set that aside, and I'll be right back where I was before the Lord saved me, when I was a Mind Science cultist, explaining that the Bible didn't mean what it said, but had a "deeper sense."

James Kime said...

Exactly, certain nonnegotiables. Good thoughts.

Fred Butler said...

Back when the Masters Seminary did their conference on NCT, they did so with the understanding that NCT = amill.


That is because every major known writer on the subject, except of for a few rarities, are amill in their perspective. Zaspel is the only premill NCTer I knew before Horner, and he, as far as I know, never wrote anything on eschatology.

CR said...

Fred,

Do you know where Tom Wells stands?

Carlo

Fred Butler said...

CR,
I thought Kime said he was a premillennialist as well, but ask him to verify.

Also, just a note to Stan and other amillers. I will be doing a brief study on Revelation 20 in the near future. Comments welcome when I start. We're currently moving this week into a new house, so blogging is on hold a bit.

CR said...

Since John Reisinger's name was mentioned along with NCT, I thought I would share with Reisinger the discussion that's happening here. He read the comments and he tried responding but there were some technical difficulties. Here is his exact response that he gave me permission to write.

I do not have bad views of the millennium simply because I do not have ANY view of the mil... I was a pre-mil, went to A-mil, went to pan-mil (will all pan out), went to pro-mil (if there is one I am for it.) I am now, and have been for a while, an existential milllennialist, (I have given up hope of finding the answer).

If 'pre-mil' means there must be an earthly mil...or God's promises are not fulfilled then I cannot be a pre-mil. If you say, "The Bible teaches there will be no earthly mil"...I cannot be an a-mil. Where does the Bible say there will be no mil...? I feel about the mil...the same as I feel about the gifts of the Spirit being revived (or an earthly mil...), but I see nothing in Scripture to prevent there being a mil and even some possibility there might be. I would be happy to share my fixed view if you so desire.

John Reisinger

P.S. I was only recently made aware of your blog. Blessings on you and yours.

lyndao said...

Enjoying the discussion here. In reference to Fred Zaspel and eschatology, he has written several articles, here:
http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/eschatology/index.htm

As I understand Tom Wells is amillennial.

I also listened to the Masters Seminary teaching on NCT, and they noted agreement with NCT on non-eschatology. They also pointed out the inconsistency of NCT in its approach to eschatology. They also mentioned Fred Zaspel as one who had come all the way to the same view as Masters Seminary (pre-millennial).

JGR said...

One of the problems in most theological discussions is the use of theological labels as if they were texts of Scripture. I do not know any A-mils, or anyone else, who believes in what is called “the replacement theory.” The question is not, “has Israel been replaced by the church,” the answer to that question is NO! The real question is, “Are the promises made to Israel (See Heb. 8:6-13 and I Peter 2:5-10) spiritually fulfilled (totally??, partiality??, not at all “??) in the New Covenant?” The answer has to be yes, at least in some sense. We differ on what that sense is. Does that mean the promises to Israel will not be fulfilled “literally,” meaning in natural terms, in the future? Not necessarily. There is often a double fulfillment in Scripture. Pre-mils have a tendency to deny or ignore the fact the kingdom has come in any sense and Amils reject any possibility of any future kingdom aspects to be fulfilled in national Israel. jgr

JGR said...

JGR response to James Kime concerning Jer. 31.
Jer 31:35,36 says, 35 This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, 
 who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is his name: 36 "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me."
Everything under the Old Covenant was promised to be “everlasting.” The priesthood - Num 25:13; the Passover - Ex. 12:14; the Sabbath – Ex 31:16a, 17a; circumcision – Gen 17:8; the nation – Jer 36, etc. Everything the Old Covenant established was indeed “forever” as it finds it fulfillment in the New Covenant. Circumcision is “forever” as it is fulfilled in regeneration, the Sabbath is “forever” as it finds its fulfillment in Christ, the priesthood is “eternal as it finds its fulfillment in Christ, etc. Everything the Old Covenant established was done away in the New Covenant. Everything was “eternal” or “forever” even as predictions made of a coming change and fulfillment.
Jer 31:31-33 is quoted, with one change, laws, plural, instead of law, singular, in the Book of Hebrews 8 and 10. Unless there are two New Covenants, one with the church and one with Israel, the church is, IN SOME SENSE, a partaker in the promised New Covenant made with Israel in Jer 31.