Were the early Church Fathers premillenial?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by dean198, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. dean198

    dean198
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0
    "I got this information from a book I just picked up called, "A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs". David W. Bercot was the editor. He was anglican and no friend of premill theology. Yet, any honest person will examine the writings of the fathers and see that they were premill."

    Bercot missed some quotes, though he does a balanced job....but the fact remains - we know that chiliasm was one opinion held by some Christians in the second century, and not by all, as Justin is clear. More study is needed than just reading one man's book of quotations.
     
  2. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think it matters as I believe that the Bible trumps the early church fathers regardless of which eschatology they may have promoted. [​IMG]

    But it is clear that there were supporters of chiliasm in the church during the first couple of hundred years after the death of the apostles.
     
  3. dean198

    dean198
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe the early church fathers are a very important guide to understanding the New Testament, though not an infallible one. But only some of them were chiliasts - and none of them held to the wacky teachings of dispensationalism - not even the premillenial ones.
     
  4. go2church

    go2church
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    6
    The key is keeping the distinction between Premillenialism and Dispensationalism. You can be Premillenial and not Dispensational
     
  5. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    "We see through a glass darkly..." Something we should always keep in mind when speaking about eschatology. The early New Testament Christians, especially the Jewish believers, were looking for a literal, physical, military-type kingdom. This thinking did not go away and certainly entered into the thinking down through the ages.

    So, we are bound to find all views represented in one form or another (Dispensationalism being the exception in that it is quite a modern idea).

    We were comfortable with post-mill in the 40's when I went to school, but I would say the majority of Baptists in those days were historical premill, at least in the UK.

    We ought to maintain a balance in this area of theology, in my opinion.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    26,806
    Likes Received:
    78
    Amen!!

    Perfect response Jim, thank you
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Where did they get this idea?
     
  8. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    The idea was immersed in Jewish thought. In the NT, the Gospels in particular, the 12 disciples were always talking about a literal rulership to come. This is when Jesus corrected them and said His kingdom has come. It is within you. It is a spiritual kingdom, and not flesh and blood.

    The writings, during the 400 years between the OT and the Gospels, were replete with this notion as well...a physical kingdom, with the Messiah at the head.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Once again, Jim, the question is "Where did they get that idea?" I know perfectly well it was taught and immersed in Jewish thought. But the teachers clearly got that idea from somewhere. Where did they get that idea from?

    Where did Jesus correct them? The occasion you cite is certainly different than you represent it to be. Here it is:

    Luke 17:20-21 20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."

    Notice to whom Christ is talking--The Pharisees. The Pharisees were Christ rejecting legalists who were trying to kill Christ. Surely you would not have us believe that the kingdom of God was in them. IT simply cannot be. Why that explanation of this text is so common is beyong belief. Unsaved people do not have the kingdom of God, even it is within people.

    What was Christ really saying? The kingdom is in your midst. You can look around and see what the kingdom is like.

    When you read the OT you see the evidences of the kingdom. McClain identifies six basic things. When Christ was here, he was going around and doing kingdom things ... healing people, insisting on social justice, preforming miracles, etc. Christ was telling the Pharisees that they shouldn't be looking for a kingdom elsewhere, just look around. There were no signs; it was simply there. That explanation deals with the audience and historical context much better.

    But the bigger question remains ... where did the first century Jews get this idea of an earthly kingdom?
     
  10. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would submit that many of the fathers spoke of a thousand year reign. But it is a severe stretch to say they were "premillenial". Irenaeus and Papias were chiliastic as best we can tell - although some of what we know of Papais' thought comes from Irenaeus!

    Justin, Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp, and others cannot really be called premillenial because they wrote things that also seem to suggest they believed that the souls of the departed go immediately to heaven.

    I think many people have simply been taught that the fathers were premillenial - not having done any research themselves.

    The fathers were fallible humans. And it seems that many of them did not have 100% certainty about their eschatological views.
     
  11. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    In Rev 19 we see the 2nd coming. In Rev 20 we see the second coming followed by the Millenium.

    It is so clear and obvious - that it can not be missed!

    You have to "want" to disbelieve the word to fail to get that sequence.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  12. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    When asking about the errors that came into the church after the first century - you have to address the issue of the book of Revelation and when those in error actually came around to accepting the writtings of John.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  13. Daniel David

    Daniel David
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    5,316
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let us not forget that bastardly amill theology was created by the heretic Origen many years after the disciples of John were clearly premillenial.
     
  14. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
  15. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brother Daniel David,

    Why do you consider Origen to be a heretic?
     
  16. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    So does anyone want to tell us where the first century Jews got the idea of an earthly kingdom?
     
  17. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    They had once been a mighty earthly kingdom before and longed to throw off the Romans and to be one again.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    But where did they get the idea that Christ's kingdom would be earthly? (The silence is defeaning ... I think I might know why.)
     
  19. Eric B

    Eric B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    2
    Great point! While I've heard that it could be rendered "in your midst", I didn't think of who he was talking to (It is probably assumed that He was talking to His disciples), and this is a great refutation of the idea that this is teaching that the Kingdom is spiritual ONLY.
    I would say that the Jews expected a physical kingdom because of many promises in the Old Testament. The problem was, they failed to realize that they were not fit for that Kingdom the way they were. Nobody was. They overlooked the sin in their own hearts, and didn't realize that if Messiah simply came and made them the rulers, they would be no better than the godless Romans and all others before them. (But who cares about that? We just want to be king of this world, and not the subjects). So Christ would have to come and establish a spiritual Kingdom one was spiritually born into.
    Now where those of a preteristic mindset go off is in assuming that because these Jews wanted a physical Kingdom, and Christ spoke of a spiritual one, then there is NO physical (or a better word is "tangible") Kingdom promised at all, and that those of us who look forward to one are wishing for the same thing as the Jews. But it is not the same, because we acknowledge the spiritual aspect of the Kingdom, and man's need for regeneration. So if Christ were to return and establish a tangible kingdom of His resurrected/changed saints on earth, it still WOULD be "spiritual", and thus not the same as the carnal kingdom the Jews wanted.
     
  20. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Often one's understanding of the Old Testament prophecies proscribed to predict a future millennial reign are based on a prior assumption that somewhere a future millennial reign is in scripture.

    Certainly, if one approachs the OT with that prescience, as does Walvoord and Scofield, he will come up with the fanciful teachings of dispensationalism.

    I prefer not to assume a system prescribed by some or even many, but rather to understand scripture as it stands.

    The silence is because if one has not already read the abundance of reformed literature covering other than a dispensational viewpoint, there is not enough space to do it here.

    We will differ throughout the ages, and thank God, I have that right to understand God's word.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

Share This Page

Loading...