December 2, 2016

Amillennialism and the Age to Come

by Mike Riccardi

amillenialism-and-the-age-to-come

Today I want to make our readers aware of a new book that is sure to serve the church well. It’s written by our friend, Dr. Matt Waymeyer, who serves on the pastoral staff of Grace Immanuel Bible Church and the faculty of The Expositors Seminary in Jupiter, Florida, and who has made excellent contributions to The Cripplegate over the years. His book is called Amillennialism and the Age to Come: A Premillennial Critique of the Two-Age Model (Kress Biblical Resources, 2016). (Available from Amazon and Kress.) If you’re interested in eschatology or studies of the Kingdom of God, you’ll benefit greatly from Matt’s work. He’s given me permission to reproduce the preface of the book, and I hope it entices you to read the whole thing.

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One of the most encouraging developments in evangelicalism over the past several decades has been the remarkable resurgence of reformed theology. This rediscovery of the doctrines of grace has not only captured the Bible’s emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation but also strengthened the unity of the church around the centrality of the gospel.

In the area of eschatology, however, I have noticed two concerning trends among those who have joined this reformation. The first involves what I call eschatological agnosticism. To be sure, eschatology is one of the most difficult theological issues to understand, especially when it comes to the finer details. But some Christians, although diligent students of Scripture in every other area, avoid the topic altogether and appear content to place themselves in the category of undecided. Some even seem proud of their agnosticism, as if ignorance about the meaning of biblical prophecy is evidence of a commitment to more significant matters. But affirming the centrality of the gospel should not mean dismissing the importance of how God will accomplish the restoration of all things to Himself. Scripture reveals too much about the subject of eschatology for Christians to be content in the dark, especially those who preach the Word and shepherd the flock.

A second trend is the way that some Christians are quick to embrace amillennialism simply because they see it as the reformed position on the end times. This appears to be most common among former Arminians. After an initial exposure to reformed theology, they spend the next several years diligently studying the Bible’s teaching on predestination before finally identifying themselves as Calvinists. But their subsequent conversion to amillennialism takes place overnight—and oftentimes with very little first-hand study of the biblical text—simply because they see it as an indispensable part of the reformed system.

In contrast, the commitment to sola scriptura at the heart of reformed theology should drive us to a careful exegesis of the relevant biblical passages, in search of what God has revealed about the end times. Only then is the student of Scripture ready to take a firm position on this difficult issue.

This book presents an invitation to those who may find themselves caught up in either one of these trends. Whether an eschatological agnostic who has never studied the millennial debate, or an amillennialist who has failed to give this issue the careful attention it deserves, the reader is challenged to consider this premillennial response to the most compelling arguments for amillennialism. The goal of this book is not only to clarify the key differences between these two competing millennial views, but also to provide an exegetical critique of the two-age model of amillennialism. In considering this response, the reader is encouraged to be diligent in his own study of Scripture, weighing carefully the arguments on both sides of the debate. Just as importantly, he is also encouraged to let that study spur him on to greater holiness as he eagerly awaits the blessed hope and appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Here are some of the endorsements for the book:

“Waymeyer has written an outstanding defense of premillennialism. His work is fair, charitable, thorough, and most importantly, based on careful scriptural exegesis. Clearly there are excellent arguments on both sides of this issue, and the debate will almost certainly last until the second coming. In any case, premillennialists will be encouraged by this vigorous and scholarly defense of their reading, and amillennialists will need to interact with this impressive defense of premillennialism.” — Thomas Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Waymeyer stays close to the text, argues biblically, and writes in an irenic way. He has shown great respect for the body of Christ where some have differed from the premillennial view he has taken, yet he has also courageously stated what needs to be said.” — Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., President Emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“This book offers the most thorough and penetrating analysis of amillennialism to date. I highly recommend it.” — Michael Vlach, Professor of Theology, The Master’s Seminary

“Imagine a passage-by-passage look at the debate between amillennialism and those who hold to an intermediate kingdom/millennium. Here is a work that lays out the debate in detail and with a tone such a discussion deserves. This is a solid analysis of amillennialism.” — Darrell L. Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • Gary V

    Thanks for this. I’m looking forward to reading it (as well as your new book.) I think that Kaiser probably meant to say that Waymeyer writes in an “irenic way” and not an “ironic way.” 🙂

  • calebkolstad

    Thanks for bringing this new book to my attention. Matt is a careful exegete and a clear writer. I have benefited from his previous works.

  • Scott Christensen

    Waymeyer has written the best book on the debate over the millennium in Revelation 20. This is certain to be just as good if not better. On another note, I am wondering if the the word “ironic” in the first sentence of Kaiser’s endorsement should read “irenic.”

  • Jerry Wragg

    I have been thoroughly enriched and challenged by Matt’s labor of love in this volume. It is as exegetically formidable as it is pastorally careful. The study of Isaiah 24 (chap 5) and all of section two is worth the price of admission, let alone his expanded work on Revelation in the final chapters.
    Grateful!!

  • 4Commencefiring4

    All I want to know is: Where’s that red dragon hiding today who is going to show up later and sweep away a third of the stars with his tail? That’s got to be, like, a world-record sized dragon, don’t you figure?

    And yes–I’m being facetious. I’m sure it’ll be a good read.