Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Case for Amilliennialism, by Kim Riddlebarger

Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, 2003 Baker Books

When considering converting to Roman Catholicism, the questionI was of the Millennium was actually a bigger stumbling block for me than any of the Marian dogmas. As a Protestant I was a firmly convinced Premillennialist and was well aware that Millennialism was not a part of Catholic eschatological teaching.

In 1944, the Holy Office stated that Millennialism "cannot be taught safely." This is certainly not saying that Premillennialism is an heresy or that it cannot be held by Catholics as a private opinion. Nevertheless, Premillennialism is not a part of Catholic teaching and to my knowledge no Catholics since the Anti-Nicene Fathers have held to it. I therefore felt I needed to persuade myself of Amillennialism, the denial of a literal thousand year reign. Hence, I read this work of Reformed theology.

Riddlebarger offers some compelling Biblical arguments against Premillennialism (and also Postmillennialism). His arguments are not tied in to any particular method of interpreting the Apocalypse, though he favours a form of Parallelism or Idealist interpretation of that book. Riddlebarger makes reference to two important works of Reformed Biblical scholarship, The Pauline Eschatology by Geerhardus Vos and Resurrection and Redemption, by Richard Gaffin. These two books offer a valuable understanding of the New Testatment concept of the Last Days, arguing that the resurrection of Christ inaugurates a new eschatological era.

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