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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition 1998

Is Premillennialism An Essential Tenant Of The Christian Faith?

    Please understand that we are not asking if belief in a literal 1,000 reign of Christ on earth after the second coming is Scripturally permissible.

    It may be. We're not saying it is not. That is not the point of our discussion. We are only asking if such a belief is an ESSENTIAL tenant of the Christian faith (with emphasis on the word "essential").

    Only two answers are relevant and logically possible: yes... or no.

    We could say, yes, premillennialism is an essential tenant of the Christian faith. If we take that position, then we should be prepared to explain and defend our doctrine to the hilt, for in so doing the fortunes of Christianity, as we see it, must either rise or fall. It is not reasonable that anyone should truly believe that premillennialism is an essential tenant of the Christian faith, dear friend, and long remain indifferent to those who work to undermine the faith that was once for all delivered. And consider this: if premillennialism is indeed an essential tenant of the Christian faith, and we do not aggressively teach and promote it, how will it be vouchsafed to our prosperity? Fact is, it probably won't.

    Now take the answer: no, premillennialism is not an essential tenant of the Christian faith. Then the next logical question must become this: why contend for it at all? If it is not essential, then why contend for it at all? Why should anyone wish to be guilty of contending for non-essentials? Hasn't that seemingly been a plague in too much of the Conservative Holiness Movement too long already?

    Friends, whether we like to admit it or not, it is simply irrational to be emotionally biased toward premillennialism, unless one is intellectually prepared to fully defend premillennialism as an essential tenant of the Christian faith. And the fact of the matter is that few, if any, of the learned and leading within the Wesleyan Holiness Movement today are intellectually prepared to defend premillennialism as an essential tenant of the Christian faith! In fact, most of the Wesleyan Holiness Bible colleges no longer teach premillennialism as the gospel truth (like they did a few years ago). Instead, nowadays most Bible colleges take a "smorgasbord" approach in which the teacher sets forth the merits of the differing viewpoints, and then lets the students decide for themselves which one to accept.

    At the grassroots of the Holiness Movement today lies a strange mixture of strong emotional attachment, coupled with intellectual diffidence, toward premillennialism. This indicates that the contemporary Wesleyan Movement is struggling intently with the aspect of reason in religion.

    We believe that when reason and clear thinking have prevailed among us, the majority will see the folly of contending for the moot issue of premillennial non-essentials. If the so-called "millennial kingdom"  of premillennial teaching is a Christian age, then why have two of them, one before, and one after, the second coming? If it is not a Christian age, then what does that tell us about our belief in the fullness and finality of the Christian revelation?

    And if, in the defense of premillennialism, one must appeal to the theological axioms of hard-shell Calvinism (unconditional election, irresistible grace, or limited atonement) for the necessitation, or consistency, of one's rationale, then how is one being faithful to one's own Wesleyan-Arminian theological heritage by thus playing the Devil's advocate?

    Think about it. Then take another closer more careful look at Revelation 20:1-8. Be thoroughly consistent in your application of any spiritualizing principles. If you do, you will be surprised at what that passage itself actually does and does not say!

Related Article Links

Premillennialism: Orthodox Faith Of The Protestant Church
Three Dangers Of Premillennialism

Why Premillennialism Should Be Rejected