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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Winter Edition 2004

On The General Resurrection Of The Dead

Following are what a few standard Wesleyan-Arminian theologians have had to say about the Bible doctrine of a general resurrection of the dead. This doctrine stands in marked contrast to the modern theory of dispensational premillennialism, which teaches two or more future bodily resurrection events.

"The millennarian view is that the resurrection of the righteous will occur at the commencement, and that of the wicked at the close of the thousand years of millennial glory. The teaching of Scripture appears to us to be very decisive that they will all be raised at once," Benjamin Fields, The Student's Handbook On Christian Theology, p. 268.

"The resurrection is to be universal. It will include the whole human family that have lived and died, from the father of the race to his youngest son," Samuel Wakefield, Wakefield's Christian Theology, vol. 2, p. 614.

"Both the just and the unjust shall have part in the resurrection. To the just it shall be a resurrection unto life. ... To the unjust it shall be a resurrection unto condemnation," Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 1014.

"There is no passage that can be made without pressure to serve the theory of a twofold resurrection . . . the universal strain of the New Testament. . . speaks of one common resurrection to one common judgment.... The doctrine of a premillennial Coming of Christ was excluded from every form of the Early Church . . . the confessions of the Reformation, as well as its leading divines, were opposed to the doctrine of two resurrections," William B. Pope, A Compendium Of Christian Theology, vol. 3, pp. 396-397, 409.

"The Scripture proofs of a personal advent disprove the figurative interpretation. The concomitants of the advent, which we have set forth on the ground of Scripture, forbid its limitation to any such local event as the destruction of Jerusalem. Further, they thoroughly disprove the theory of a premillennial advent. Not on any assumption of the theory shall there then be either a general resurrection of the dead, or the final judgment of mankind, or the end of the world. This theory is not only opposed to the Scriptures, but is in itself open to serious objections," John Miley, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, p. 446.

"Again: the resurrection is to be universal.... The general tenor of Scripture on this subject seems to indicate that all the dead shall be raised at the same time; or, at least, with no considerable interval of time between. The apostle speaks of the resurrection in general as taking place 'at the last trump.' Martha said to the Saviour, in reference to her brother Lazarus, 'I know that he will rise again, in the resurrection, at the last day.' From these, and other passages, we conclude that the resurrection of the whole human family shall take place 'at the end of the world.' But how long the world is to stand, is known to God alone. 'At such an hour as we look not, the Son of man shall come'," Thomas Ralston, Elements Of Divinity, p.504.

". . . there is a total lack of evidence that these martyrs [of Revelation chapter 20] reign with Christ on earth. . ... So say the noble commentators, Bengel, Wesley, Moses Stewart, Clarke, Barnes, Agar Beet. . . Whedon, Daniel Steele, Henry Cowles, Dr. Hodge, and a host of others," A.M. Hills, Fundamental Christian Theology. Abridged Ed., p. 563.

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