The Importance Of Premillennialism -- By: Ernest Pickering

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 02:4 (Winter 1959)
Article: The Importance Of Premillennialism
Author: Ernest Pickering

The Importance Of Premillennialism

Ernest Pickering

Is premillennialism really important? Does it make any difference whether a person is premillennial, postmillennial, or amillennial? Or was the seminary professor correct who, when asked his view on the millenial question, replied, “I’ll be so glad when we can all fellowship together as brethren and forget these trivial questions”?

Is premillennialism a “trivial question” ? Many theological conservatives today feel it is comparatively so. Some say that after all premillennialism is just a “theory.” It is one of several theories concerning eschatology. One is at perfect liberty, they say, to be a premillennialist, but why make an issue over it? Being a rather unimportant dispute confined to the field of eschatology, why should it be magnified out of proportion?

Those who speak thus concerning premillennialism do not thoroughly understand it. A number of considerations combine to make premillennialism a very crucial matter.

I. Premillennialism As A System Of Theology

There is great misunderstanding regarding the nature of premillennialism. It is far more than merely a problem in eschatology. It is an entire system of Biblical interpretation. Its roots are found in major areas of theology such as Bibliology and Ecclesiology. Still other divisions of theology are affected by it. David Brown, a strong opponent of premillennialism, nevertheless saw this clearly when he wrote, “Premillennialism is not a barren speculation—useless though true, innocuous though false. It is a school of Scripture interpretation; it impinges upon and affects some of the most commanding points of the Christian faith, and when

suffered to work its unimpeded way, it stops not till it has pervaded with its own genius the entire system of one’s theology, and the whole tone of his spiritual character” (David Brown, “Christ’s Second Coming: Will it Be Pre-Millennial? “pp. 6-7). Another writer in the same vein says, “Modern premillennialism.. .is a complete theological system. It is not one doctrine, but a whole outline of theology” (Harrison F. Rail, “Modern Premillennialism and the Christian Hope,” Po 109).

It is significant to note that the foregoing testimonies are from men whole-heartedly opposed to premillennialism. One other observation should be cited. “Millenarianism is not a theory which can be confined within narrow limits but it is a principle that sends its roots under and its branches through all other doctrines of Christian faith and duty. It is a pervasive spirit that insinuates itself everywhere” (James Snowden, “The Coming of the Lord: Will it Be Pr...

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