Premillennialism and Consistency in Hermeneutics-Walvoord

The debate between premillenarians and other millenarians hangs to a large extent upon the principles of interpretation of Scripture which each group employs. This is commonly recognized by all parties. The amillenarian Albertus Pieters states, “The question whether the Old Testament prophecies concerning the people of God must be interpreted in their ordinary sense, as other Scriptures are interpreted, or can properly be applied to the Christian Church, is called the question of spiritualization of prophecy. This is one of the major problems in biblical interpretation, and confronts everyone who makes a serious study of the Word of God. It is one of the chief keys to the difference of John Walvoordopinion between Premillenarians and the mass of Christian scholars. The former reject such spiritualization, the latter employ it; and as long as there is no agreement on this point the debate is interminable and fruitless.”3 In principles of interpretation the crux of the controversy is revealed.

The premillennial position is that the Bible should be interpreted in its ordinary grammatical and historical meaning in all areas of theology unless contextual or theological reasons make it clear that this was not intended by the writer. Amillenarians use the literal method in theology as a whole but spiritualize Scripture whenever its literal meaning would lead to the premillennial viewpoint. This is obviously a rather subjective principle and open to manipulation by the interpreter to sustain almost any system of theology. The conservative amillenarian claims to confine spiritualization to the field of prophecy and interpret other Scriptural revelation literally. Thus a conservative amillenarian would accept literally passages teaching the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the resurrection of Christ, and similar doctrines. They would denounce as heretics anyone who would tamper with these fundamental doctrines—as Origen, the father of amillenarianism, most certainly did. Conservative amillenarians would, however, feel perfectly justified in proceeding to spiritualize passages speaking of a future righteous government on earth, of Israel’s regathering to Palestine, and of Christ reigning literally upon the earth for a thousand years. Their justification is that these doctrines are absurd and impossible and that therefore they must be spiritualized. The wish is father of the interpretation, therefore, and amillennial interpretation of Scripture abundantly illustrates this.

-You can read the whole journal article at http://walvoord.com/article/150

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Pastor Like Paul, part 5

close-to-corinth

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,”–2 Timothy‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Christian faith depends upon not only faithful discipleship, but on faithful disciples who continue in the pattern they have received. In their last four posts in this series we looked at 5 ways we need to follow (or strive to be) a godly Christian leader:

  1. Follow the Same Doctrine
  2. Follow the Same Conduct
  3. Follow the Same Purpose
  4. Follow the Same Faithfulness
  5. Follow the Same Patience

You can read part 1 here,  part 2 herepart 3 here and part 4 here. In this post we will look at “the greatest of these…”

6. Follow with the Same Love

The KJV uses the word “charity” here, which doesn’t mean what you give to less fortunate people, but a selfless act of love that is shown to others in the spirit of God’s love for us. This is that word Greek word for love known as agape.

The best way to define what Paul meant by follow his love, is to define his live by his own words and life. So, I compiled a list of ten features of love as described and modelled by Paul.

  1. Love is shown at the cross: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV)
  2. Love includes patience: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant” (1 Corinthians 13:4, ESV); “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” (Ephesians 4:2, ESV)
  3. Love must be pursued: “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1, ESV); “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22, ESV)
  4. Love must be our motivation: “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14, ESV); “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;” (2 Corinthians 5:14, ESV)
  5. Love confronts sin: “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:4, ESV); “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15, ESV)
  6. Love forgives: “So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.” (2 Corinthians 2:8, ESV)
  7. Love sacrifices: “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?” (2 Corinthians 12:15, ESV) ; “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7–8, ESV)
  8. Love discerns truth from error:And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,” (Philippians 1:9, ESV)
  9. Love unifies Christians: “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2, ESV) ; “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14, ESV)
  10. Love works hard in service:remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3, ESV)

That, my friends, helps us put the cookies on the lower shelf when we say, how can I show someone love, doesn’t it? Love is practical, painful and it must be pursued. Paul told Timothy, that he needed to continue to follow his example of loving in these ways, and so do we!

Brothers, we are leading others. The question is, where are we leading them? Are we leading them toward Christ, or away from him? Are we setting examples in our faithfulness, patience and love, or are we showing them instead an example of faithlessness, impatience and selfishness? If we fail we will not only feel remorse over wasted time, but we will also recreate our poor example in others, and worst yet, we will stand before the Lord and give an account for how we led others. May God help us to set the pace for those around us to follow Christ with their whole lives, just as we seek to do the same.

Preachers Who Don’t Love People

lloydjones“The trouble with some of us is that we love preaching, but we are not always careful to make sure that we love the people to whom we are actually preaching. If you lack this element of compassion for the people you will also lack the pathos which is a very vital element in all true preaching. Our Lord looked out upon the multitude and ‘saw them as sheep without a shepherd’, and was ‘filled with compassion’. And if you know nothing of this you should not be in a pulpit, for this is certain to come out in your preaching.”

-Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers