Everybody has their favorite doctrines, and, by implication, everyone has their not-so-favorite doctrines. For me, eschatology--the doctrine of last things, or the end times--falls into both categories.
My soul and leans hard in hope on the general, clear truths of eschatology: Jesus is coming back to finish off evil and establish his kingdom. And "the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever" (Daniel 7:18 NIV). In that sense, eschatology is a doctrine I revel in and bank on and love to witness to in my teaching. I look forward to the return of Christ, my establishment in righteousness and glory, finally dwelling in the new heavens and new earth.
But when it comes to the details of eschatology and the battle lines drawn between the various millennial positions and, within premillennialism, between the various tribulation positions, my eyes develop a glassy condition that is hard to shake.
As a result, my eschatology is fuzzy in the details. In an effort to bring more clarity, I've been reading some books on eschatology. One of the them is A Case for Historic Premillennialism, a compilation of addresses delivered by primarily Denver Seminary profs. and edited by two of them, Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung.
First question: What is "historic premillennialism"? It is the post-trib, premillennial view. I.e., Jesus will come back after the tribulation (not before, as popularized by the Left Behind series), and will reign for a thousand years on this earth before the final consummation of all things.
Big question: Does A Case make the case? Let me ask you this: in the presidential debates you watch, which candidates, in your opinion, normally win--your party's candidates, or the other party's? I suspect that for you, as for me, and for most, your guy would have to be as stoned as Ozzy Osbourne always appears to be before you would admit he lost the debate.
Since I classify myself as a post-trib premillennialist--I've now admitted what my dear father has suspected for a long time--I think A Case makes the case, but I don't think it will convince Tim LaHaye fans.
To see the chapter headings, click here, and then click on "Table of Contents."
The chapter most disappointing for me was Blomberg's (ch. 4), where I expected a stellar defense of the post-trib position. I didn't get that. But I plan to re-read it. Fascinating was Richard Hess's chapter (ch. 2), where he detailed the OT pattern in the prophets, where 1) God's people would be judged and condemned, 2) the nations would be judged and trounced, 3) God would save and bless his people. He suggests that pattern holds true throughout the whole of the Bible and history.
Clarifying is Don Payne's chapter (ch. 5) on theological method, where he demonstrates, for instance, that post-tribbers assign theological weight to the NT as the interpretive lens for the OT, and pre-tribbers do just the opposite.
Donald Fairbairn's chapter (ch. 6), my favorite one, was more for me what I thought Blomberg's was going to be. His interaction with the Early Church fathers was fascinating and provided a helpful defense of the post-trib position.
My least favorite chapter was the last one (ch. 8), which I didn't even finish. I'm sure Oscar Campos is a brilliant man, but when you routinely encounter sentences like--
"Since this essay has focused on the nonholistic missiology of dispensational evangelicalism due to its futuristic view of the eschatological kingdom of God, it is only fair to at least mention some of the work of progressive dispensationalism in the last twenty years and its different stance on the issues of the kingdom of God and, consequently, holistic missiology" --
it takes all the fun out of reading.
Interested in the topic? Get the book and read chs. 2, 5, and 6. Probably 4, too. I suspect a second reading of that chapter will yield more fruit. Feel free to skip chs. 3, 7, and 8.
My rating (out of 5): 3