Posttribulationism Today Part XIII: Pretribulationism as the Alternative to Posttribulationism -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 135:537 (Jan 1978)
Article: Posttribulationism Today Part XIII: Pretribulationism as the Alternative to Posttribulationism
Author: John F. Walvoord


Posttribulationism Today
Part XIII:
Pretribulationism as the Alternative to Posttribulationism

John F. Walvoord

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

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the concluding article in this series, which was begun in Bibliotheca Sacra with the January-March, 1975 issue. The thirteen articles are available in book form under the title The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976).]

Throughout the discussion of posttribulationism in this series, the superiority of the pretribulational view to posttribulationism has been pointed out. Although it is not the purpose of this study to present pretribulationism as such, as this has been done in the author’s The Rapture Question,1 a summary of pretribulationism is in order.

Clarity of Pretribulational Premises

As demonstrated in the preceding articles, posttribulationism is faulty in its statement of its premises. Because posttribulationists are largely in confusion in their basic presuppositions, they are open to the charge of contradiction and illogical reasoning. By contrast, pretribulationists bring into focus the major issues that relate to eschatology.

The Authority and Accuracy of Scripture

While conservative posttribulationists usually concur with pretribulationists on the authority and accuracy of Scripture, they lack the unanimity evident in all pretribulationists in their doctrine of the Scriptures. It is not uncommon for scholars who defect from pretribulationism in favor of posttribulationism to defect also in their doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.

The Principle of Literal Interpretation of Prophecy

Among posttribulationists there is a wide divergence on the issue of the basic principles of biblical interpretation, especially as related to prophecy. Even conservative interpreters like J. Barton Payne, as previous discussion has demonstrated, spiritualize prophecies when they seem to contradict posttribulationism.2 Robert Gundry, who attempts a literal interpretation of prophecy, spiritualizes when a literal interpretation would contradict posttribulationism.3 Lack of consistency among posttribulationists in principles of interpretation have undoubtedly contributed to their lack of agreement among themselves and confusion on important points in posttribulationism. Pretribulationists do not need to spiritualize prophecy in order to suppo...

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