Throughout their history Baptists have generally believed that the return of Jesus Christ will be followed immediately by a resurrection of all the dead, both the ‘redeemed’ and the ‘lost’, and a general judgment. This conclusion is based on information presented in Baptist Confessions of Faith by William L. Lumpkin. It follows that since Baptists historically believed in a general resurrection and judgment they did not believe in an earthly millennial kingdom, they were either amillennialists or postmillennialists. The most significant passage of Scripture that teaches a general resurrection and judgment is spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ: John 5:28,29, KJV 28. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. At the Southern Baptist Convention held in Atlanta, Georgia, June, 2000 the Baptist Faith and Message adopted at that time defined the Church as follows [Section VI]: “The New Testament also speaks of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.” It is important to note that the implications of a general resurrection and judgment are not trivial in today’s theological climate. A general resurrection and judgment means that there is no ‘secret rapture of the Church’ prior to any period of ‘great tribulation’, and no millennial reign. The Church will remain on earth until they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [Matthew 24:30, KJV] and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen [Revelation 1:7, KJV]. Whatever tribulation comes before that time the Church will endure just as Jesus Christ taught and just as the history of the Church bears witness. In fact Scripture teaches repeatedly that tribulation is the norm of life for the Saints, the ‘true believers’. John F. Walvoord, the preeminent dispensationalist theologian and former president of the Dallas Theological Seminary confesses that the validity of the pre-tribulation ‘rapture’ depends on the definition of the Church [Major Bible Prophecies, page 282]. Walvoord writes, regarding the definition of the church: “If the question be asked: Will the church be raptured before end-time events? it becomes very important to define the church as an entity that is distinct from Israel or saints in general. In prophetic passages concerning the Tribulation, both Israelites and Gentiles are described, and some of them have faith in Christ and form a godly remnant. If they are part of the church, then the church is in the Tribulation, and the whole question as to whether the church goes through the Tribulation becomes moot. Many posttribulationists, in an attempt to establish their own point of view, beg the question at the very beginning by assuming that the church includes saints of all ages. The concept that the church is distinct from Israel is a part of dispensational truth that distinguishes the work of God in the Old Testament under the Mosaic Law, the work of God in the present age as he calls out both Jews and Gentiles to form the church as the body of Christ, and the millennial kingdom in which the saints of all ages participate in various ways but maintain their individual and corporate identity. Hence, the church will be raptured or resurrected, and will reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom, but the saved of Israel as well as the saved of the Gentiles who are not part of the church will also be part of the millennial kingdom. Distinguishing the church from saints of other periods that precede or follow the present age is essential to a correct answer on the pretribulational issue. It is not too much to say that the doctrine of the church, or ecclesiology, determines this aspect of eschatology.” Because of the influence of the Scofield Reference Bible, many Southern Baptists have embraced the dispensational error in the interpretation of Scripture. That error, unfortunately, includes: 1] A misunderstanding of the mission of Jesus Christ and the nature or doctrine of the Church [ecclesiology]. 2] A false eschatology with emphasis on the removal of the Church followed by a seven year period of tribulation prior to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of a fictional earthly kingdom for the Jews. We see that the definition of the Church as presented in the Baptist Faith and Message is directly contrary to the dispensational doctrine of the Church [also discussed in another thread]. Furthermore, the remarks by Walvoord show that the dispensational doctrine of a pretribulation rapture of the Church contradicts current Southern Baptist theology as well as historic Baptist Theology.