Posttribulationism Today: Part XII: Unresolved Problems of Posttribulationism -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 134:536 (Oct 1977)
Article: Posttribulationism Today: Part XII: Unresolved Problems of Posttribulationism
Author: John F. Walvoord


Posttribulationism Today:
Part XII:
Unresolved Problems of Posttribulationism

John F. Walvoord

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

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This series, begun in Bibliotheca Sacra with the January-March, 1975 issue, is now published in book form under the title The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976). This article is adapted from chapter 12 in the book. The series will conclude with the January-March, 1978 issue.]

In the study of the relative merits of arguments supporting pretribulationism and posttribulationism, it becomes evident that not all the arguments for either conclusion are necessarily decisive. If either the pretribulational or posttribulational rapture was unequivocably taught in Scripture, it is doubtful whether worthy scholars would divide on the question. The conclusions reached necessarily are based on the total weight of the supporting evidence and the extent to which each view solves its problems.

Pretribulationists continue to believe that, on the whole, they have offered a better solution to the exegesis of the New Testament on the subject of Christ’s coming for His church than the posttribulationists. Posttribulationists continue to hold that pretribulationists have not firmly established their point of view.

Summary of Posttribulational Arguments

Most posttribulational arguments are in the nature of refutation of pretribulationism. Posttribulationists, however, have approached the subject from at least four major points of view, as mentioned previously, and both the premises and the supporting evidence vary a great deal. A summary of the more important arguments is helpful in weighing the relative merits of

posttribulationism and pretribulationism. Because of variations in posttribulational interpretation, however, these need to be divided into two classes: (1) arguments on which posttribulationists agree; (2) arguments on which posttribulationists themselves disagree.

Posttribulational Arguments Advanced by All Posttribulationists

Historical Argument

Practically all posttribulationists charge that pretribulationism is a recent theory which surfaced in the writings of J. N. Darby about 150 years ago. Accordingly they argue that posttribulationism is the standard doctrine of the church, and they raise the question why pretribulationism was not advanced earlier if it is actually the teaching of Scripture. George E. Ladd, for instance, devotes a third of his book to the historical argument, and...

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