Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Eschatology and the Early Church

In his work The City of God, Augustine writes that the general resurrection occurs at the second coming of Christ, and not after a thousand year earthly kingdom (i.e., not at some sort of second-second coming). Although deeper study is needed to determine, if possible, whether Augustine leaned postmillennial or amillennial (both camps claim him) it is beyond dispute that he was not premillennial.

Nor were the creeds premillennial, at least not explicitly. If the writers of, for example, the Apostle’s creed were premillennial, then they must not Hal-Lindsian in their fervor, for they say absolutely nothing about an earthly millennial kingdom. Surely if the eschatology of Tim LaHaye and the Plymouth Brethren had been affirmed by the early church, some mention of the pre-trib rapture and millennial kingdom would have been considered appropriate in a summary statement of Christian orthodoxy. Instead, the Apostle’s creed speaks only (I would say completely) of a second coming and a general resurrection.

Both the Apostle's and Nicene creeds state that Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, which again is at least an implicit rejection of premillennialism (because the second coming is associated with judging everyone).

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