Contempory Amillennial Literature Part 1 -- By: Homer Lemuel Payne

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 106:422 (Apr 1949)
Article: Contempory Amillennial Literature Part 1
Author: Homer Lemuel Payne

Contempory Amillennial Literature
Part 1

Homer Lemuel Payne

Amillennialism offers itself as an integrated system, a logical key to unlock and lead cut the underlying theological pattern of Scripture. This claim has always been minimized in some degree by the rather marked divergence of view among its supporters. Two world wars have combined effectively to administer the final blow to postmillennialism and at the same time to stir afresh the fires of the age-long millennial controversy. The renewed flow of literature from amillennial sources has further demonstrated the tendency of that system to diversity; but the increasing amount of amillennial material has made the gaining of a true perspective in the system difficult for the average student. It has seemed a worthwhile project in view of this to prepare a brief survey or digest of contemporary amillennial authors collating their views on the more important items of doctrine. The purpose is twofold: (1) to offer assistance to those studying the system, and (2) to bring out in bold relief the wide diversity of doctrine within the system and thus demonstrate its fundamental weakness. While written from a premillennial standpoint the primary objective is analysis, not refutation.

The cornerstone of amillennialism is its spiritualizing method of interpretation. It is rather surprising, since such is the case, that it was not until 1934 that any work of note appeared presenting an ordered argument attempting to justify this method from Scripture. The work referred to is Martin J. Wyngaarden’s The Future of the Church in Prophecy and Fulfillment. Its conclusions will be noted in the proper place. Amillennial doctrine as it is distinguished from premillennialism is primarily concerned with the fields of ecclesiology and eschatology.

No canvass of amillennial writing can be conducted

without recognition of the fact that both conservatives and liberals subscribe to amillennial views, though upon different grounds. Berkhof1 and Burrows2 may perhaps be cited as typical of the two schools of thought. The distinction between the two is that the conservative (Berkhof) rejects literal interpretation, whereas the liberal rejects the final authority of the Scriptures altogether. The student may judge for himself the extent to which the latter view may be regarded as a development of the former.

The general plan of the study will be a development by subjects. Outstanding items will be considered and quotations or condensations given to show the views of the better known amillennial writers. Material from less pro...

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