In my last post, I mentioned that there are a number of things for which I can express genuine appreciation in Waymeyer’s book. Here are some of them:
First, I agree with Waymeyer’s rejection of eschatological agnosticism. In his preface, he condemns those who avoid the topic of eschatology and “even seem proud of their agnosticism” (vii). He avers that “Scripture reveals too much about the subject of eschatology for Christians to be content to be in the dark, especially those who preach the Word and shepherd the flock.” I could not agree more. In fact, I do agree more! For me, as I will argue, eschatology is even more central to Christianity and the gospel than it is for Waymeyer. Still, I have heard too many jokes making light of eschatology and too many people teasing about being “Pan-millennialists” (because everything will “pan” out alright in the end). Such humor misses, I think, the importance of eschatology in the Bible. The Bible is a story—yes, a true story—but a story nonetheless. Everything in a story depends on how the story ends. Eschatology tells us how the biblical story ends. That is how important eschatology is!
Second, and in his Preface again, Waymeyer expresses his foundational commitment to the doctrine of “sola scriptura at the heart of reformed theology” and goes on to say that it “should drive us to a careful exegesis of the relevant biblical passages … about the end times” (viii). Well said! My disagreement with Waymeyer is not about this fundamental principle, but about what constitutes the “careful exegesis” of which he speaks.
In the third place by way of appreciation let me compliment Waymeyer on his identification of what he calls “the Two-Age Model” as at the heart of the modern Amillennial polemic against Premillennialism. He says: “One of the strongest arguments for the amillennial view involves what is known as the “two-age model,” an eschatological framework high-lighted by Geerhardus Vos in the early twentieth century” (1). Waymeyer actually notes this by way of a quotation from my book. As he quotes me, I do believe that Vos’ contributions are “epochal” in their importance. I congratulate him on seeing the importance of this point in the debate clearly. Later he notes that “none of the major premillennial works in recent years has directly and substantially addressed this amillennial argument” and that “a premillennial critique of the two-age model is long overdue” (7). Once more, I think Waymeyer is seeing the contours of the argument clearly in this assertion.
In the fourth place, I believe that Waymeyer is to be thanked for his attempt to present fairly and at some length Amillennial arguments on the above point and on other points throughout his book (2-7, 34-40, 50-51, 78-79, 88-90, 107-110 etc.). It seems to me that Waymeyer has made a commendable attempt to treat his adversaries’ arguments fairly and thoroughly. It is, of course, a different thing to suggest that he has been wholly successful in this attempt. I will point out in my critique deficiencies in his attempt. Yet he has made a serious attempt to treat our arguments accurately. This is very good and much better than previous Premillennial polemics. All this leads me, however, to my last commendation.
In the fifth place, Waymeyer has maintained an objective and Christian tone in his argument. That is to say, he treats his Amillennial opponents as serious, Bible-believing Christians and refrains from the kind of disrespectful and frankly un-Christian tone of too many prophetic polemics in the past. As I have said elsewhere, however seriously we may disagree with Dispensationalism or Premillennialism, and however consequential we may think the logical and practical implications of their positions are, the argument between the four major views of eschatology held by Christians (Postmillennialism, Amillennialism, Historic Premillennialism, and Dispensational Premillennialism) is historically an argument among Christians. It is, in other words, an argument among those who hold the doctrinal core of beliefs necessary for historic orthodoxy. It is those professed “Christians” who have denied the doctrines of the future judgment, the future resurrection of the flesh (body), and the future, visible, bodily Second Coming of Christ that have denied (and departed from) the faith once delivered to all the saints. It is not Amillennialism, Premillennialism, or Postmillennialism that has departed in radical error from the faith once delivered to all the saints.
See both my MacArthurs’s Millennial Manifesto (Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2008), 1-4; More of the End Times Made Simple (Calvary Press, 2009), 13-31.
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.