Sunday, January 13, 2008

Amillennialism's Pitfalls?

This evening we took a break from our study of Revelation and I gave the first of two lectures on "Amillennialism and the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms." One of the questions that was asked took me a bit off guard, and I'd like to out it out there for your consideration and input.

If pre- and postmillennial theology have their own problems, what about amillennialism? What are its possible pitfalls?

My answer was that a strong amillennial view of life in this age as consisting of suffering now and glory later (which I regard as the amill position in a nutshell) can potentially lead to individual apathy if it is not coupled with a healthy and robust appreciation of the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the New Covenant saint.

The problem with transformationism, as I see it, is its insistance that the individual, redemptive transformation experienced by the believer by virtue of the indwelling Spirit of the age to come must be replicated outside the believer, in the culture. I would argue, on the other hand, that while the believer presently experiences elements of both already and not yet, the cosmos still must wait patiently for the full manifestation of the children of God and the redemption that will follow.

In short, when we allow the un-realized nature of cosmic eschatology to swallow the semi-realized nature of personal eschatology, we inevitably end up with an under-realized and anemic doctrine of sanctification.