Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Historical Eschatology

Lecture Notes for Thursday, Oct. 20, Part 2

Historic Eschatology: Unfolding Theology of the End Times from 100 AD to the Present

The Persecuted Church, the Patristic Period and Historic Premillenialism
·         Justin Martyr: resurrection, rebuilt temple (some dispute), 1000 year reign
·         Irenaeus: 1000 year reign established position of church
·         Origen: rejects 1000 year reign, Platonized eschatology, universalist, pre-existing souls
·         Heretical eschatology: Montanism—new revelation, New Jerusalem to “set down” imminently in Asia Minor; modalist, extreme asceticism.
·         “Catholic” consensus: the church supersedes Israel 

The Fall of Rome: Augustine and Symbolic Eschatology
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great!
Delayed Expectations
·         Amillennialism and Augustine: in the new environment, Augustine reined in the extremes of Origen and established a more “moderate” amillenial view of Rev. 20. 
·         Augustine’s successors: Aquinas developed amillenialism, but was more concerned with purgatory and the beatific vision
Reformation: the Papacy is the Antichrist
·         The endurance of Augustinianism: dominant for more than 1500 years
·         Chiliasm: the discrediting fringe.  Most Reformers (Luther, Calvin etc.) retained amillenialism in part because of the extremes of the “chiliasts” such as certain Anabaptists, Huguenots, and Bohemian Brethren; so also the heretic Michael Servetus, who was executed at Geneva. 
·         Historicism: growing up alongside amillenialism; saw prophecy (especially the book of Revelation) as world history from the cross to the second coming; myriad interpretations, all seeing their present as nearly the end of the age
·         Common Protestant view: the Antichrist is the Papacy
·         Preserved in Seventh Day Adventist Church  
World Missions, Awakening and Post-millennialism: Optimism in Eschatology
·         Pietism, Puritanism and Awakening: amillenialism remains dominant, but other options are explored.  Post-millenialism gets into the mix.  The rapid expansion of missions 1790-1910 led some to see the triumph of the church in history; some saw the present age as the increasingly triumphant millennium, while other saw a “1000 year” era of earthly triumph
·         World evangelization: starting with Pietists such as the Moravians, through Carey and Judson, to the early 20th century, an era of explosive growth
·         Jonathan Edwards: believed the millennium would arrive around the year 2000 and that a 1000 year reign would follow before the physical return of Christ
Dispensational Premillenialism
·         Beginnings: Darby and Schofield: distinct eras of God’s dealings; the continued role of Israel; splitting the “rapture” from the second coming; literal, Israel-centered millennium
·         A “literal” reading: reacting against the spiritualized reading of amillenialism
·         The appeal of dispensationalism: systemic, comprehensive and confrontational
The Impact of World War and the Establishment of the State of Israel
·         War’s impact: the near death experience of post-millenialism
·         Zionism: vindication of dispensationalism?  ”Generation” understanding heated up expectations.
·         The high-water mark: The Late Great Planet Earth (Hal Lindsey)
The Empire Strikes Back: Diversity in Eschatology
·         Endurance of Reformed Eschatology (Gertsner, Sproul, etc.)
·         George Eldon Ladd and Historic Premillenialism
·         Progressive dispensationalism: walking back the wall between Old and New covenant, Gen. 12, etc.
·         1980: the election of Ronald Reagan and eschatology
·         Preterism, Partial and Full.  Sees Olivet and Revelation as largely fulfilled in events of 1st century AD (destruction of Jerusalem).  Ex., Hank Hanegraaff.  Full preterism see all such prophecy as past (some liberals; see 2 Timothy 2:17-18)  
·         A settled state of diversity: in evangelical circles, dispensational Premillenialism is still dominant, but other views are growing in acceptance

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