Posttribulationism Today Part V: Dispensational Posttribulational Interpretation -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:529 (Jan 1976)
Article: Posttribulationism Today Part V: Dispensational Posttribulational Interpretation
Author: John F. Walvoord


Posttribulationism Today
Part V:
Dispensational Posttribulational Interpretation

John F. Walvoord

[President and Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra.]

The New Approach To Posttribulationism

In the history of the church a movement can be observed away from an original doctrine of imminency of the Lord’s return, as expounded today by J. Barton Payne, toward a non-imminent return of Christ. As previous discussion in this series of articles has pointed out, while there is confusion in the history of the church on the question of imminency, many of the early church fathers and some of the Protestant Reformers definitely believed that the Lord could come at any time. In order to accommodate themselves to this point of view, they recognized in their contemporary situation the fulfillment of end-time signs of the second advent.

In the twentieth century among posttribulationists there has been a definite trend away from the doctrine of imminency. This is illustrated in the work by George A. Ladd, The Blessed Hope,1 which was discussed in the previous article. Ladd definitely believes that there is at least a seven-year period which must be fulfilled before the second coming of Christ.

An entirely new approach to posttribulationism appeared for the first time in the work of Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation.2 This work is a further advance away from imminency but is built on premises some of which have never before been used for posttribulationism. Because of the importance of this new view on posttribulationism, this article will be the first in a series dealing with the principal points in his argument.

The originator of this new interpretation is a well-known conservative and premillenarian scholar holding the chairmanship of the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Westmont College. He has earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Manchester University in Manchester, England and has written several well-received scholarly publications including The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthews Gospel3 and A Survey of the New Testanzent.4 Although his earlier study in the subject of posttribulationism arose from disagreement with the faculty of Los Angeles Baptist College while he was a student there, his present work reflects the maturity of scholarly studies and his skill as a debater.

In approaching Gundry’s ...

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