Most American Evangelicals are firmly committed to the idea that an earthly millennial age will begin immediately after our Lord Jesus Christ's Second Advent. Since premillennialism is so dominant in American church circles, many who encounter historic Protestantism for the first time are quite surprised when they discover that all of the Protestant Reformers and the entire Reformed and Lutheran traditions are amillennial. Amillennialism is that understanding of eschatology which sees the millennium not as a future golden age as does premillennialism (the age of the church triumphant), but instead as the present course of history between the First and Second Advent's of our Lord (the age of the church militant). And indeed, I am sure that there are many readers who will express shock and disappointment upon learning of my own amillennial convictions. But I am convinced, however, that many readers simply do not understand the basic end-times scenario found in the New Testament. Part of the problem is that dispensational premillennial writers have completely dominated Christian media and publishing. There are literally hundreds of books, churches, and parachurch ministries all devoted to taking premillennialism and the "pretribulation" rapture idea to the masses. And so, I can only lament the fact that my own tradition has done so little to produce popular books introducing and defending amillennialism. It is my guess that many who read this article will have never heard the case for the classical position held by the church regarding the return of Christ and the millennial age.
Kim Riddlebarger is pastor of Christ United Reformed Church (Anaheim, California) and co-host of The White Horse Inn radio broadcast. He is author of A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times and Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth about the Antichrist (Baker, 2006). Kim blogs at www.kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com.
Issue: "Eschatology" May/June 1994 Vol. 3 No. 3 Page number(s): 14-18
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