Yesterday I proposed a grid for thinking through early church practices. I believe it partially works for how to apply early church theology too. Following a similar grid is why I am tentatively a historic pre-millennialist.
- New Testament passages explicitly deny a Post-millennial position; namely, those passages which show the world will get worse (2 Thess. 2:3-4) and those passages which seem to state the number of believers will be fewer than unbelievers when Christ returns (Mt. 22:14).
- I am not convinced by pre-millennial dispensationalism.This article explains that in part.
- The historical place that historic pre-millennialism holds. The Apostle John discipled Papias and Polycarp. Polycarp discipled Irenaeus. Between these three we have explicit claims that the apostle John held to a pre-millennial position.
- It is the most clear reading of Revelation 20:1-10. This seems to be the most clear reading of the binding of Satan and the nature of the resurrection.
In all honesty I want to hold to amillennialism. I find certain aspects of that position compelling. But I believe because of the place in history that the historic pre-millennial position holds the burden of proof lies on other positions. There is nothing in Scripture that seems to directly contradict a pre-millennial position. Therefore, I’m inclined to lean that way.
I hold the historic pre-millennial position tentatively. There does not, in my estimation, appear to be enough textual evidence to overturn the most clear reading of Revelation 20:1-10, nor to overturn the historical precedent set by the early church fathers. Therefore, I hold at least a form of historic pre-millennialism—yet there is still much that I do not know.
The one thing that I do know is that Christ is returning. Christ has defeated Satan on the Cross and will more fully defeat him in the culmination of the history as we know it. It is to the return of Christ that I look. Regardless of your view of the millennium it is appropriate to say, Maranatha!
Feel free to convince me of your position in the comments. I could be an easy sell to an a-mill position, you’ll have a more difficult time of convincing me on the others.