A Compelling Case for Amillennialism

Sam Storms’ new book “Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative” presents a compelling case for amillenialism. Notice I said compelling, not conclusive. Whatever position you hold, think you hold, or have to hold because of where you serve, you should wrestle with Storms’ presentation.  He is one of many former dispensational premillennialists who have surrendered their long cherished and strongly held position. In Storms’ case, he studied under the dispensational fathers – Ryrie, Walvoord, and Pentecost (p. 10) at Dallas Theological Seminary where he received his Th. M.  He was finally persuaded that “there was no basis in Scripture for a pretribulational rapture of the Church” which led many of his friends to believe that he “was well on [his] way into theological liberalism” (p. 12).


This is a book that invites reflection on Storms’ handing of texts that are often marshaled in support of premillennialism, both of the dispensational and historic variety.  It’s not my intention to give a full review but here’s a brief introduction.  He begins in chapter one with the “Hermeneutics of Eschatology” laying out five foundational principles which lead him to conclude that "Both Jesus and his body, the Church, constitute the true Israel in and for whom all the promises of the Old Testament find their fulfillment" (p. 42).


Chapter two on “Defining Dispensationalism” demonstrates that, unlike some critics of dispensational premillennialism, he understands dispensational distinctives.


Chapter three on “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9” requires wading through what I would consider a plausible interpretation although the nature of the prophecy still leaves one perplexed.


Chapter four treats “Daniel’s Contribution to Biblical Eschatology.” His identification of the fourth world power as Greece rather than Rome deserves a hearing.


Chapter five on “Problems with Premillennialism” raises the debated issue of using Revelation 20 to control Pauline and Petrine eschatology, and Storms’ conviction that “a premillennial interpretation of Revelation 20 actually contradicts the clear and unequivocal assertions in such texts as I Corinthians 15, Romans 8, and others” (p. 142). He also interacts with Kaiser and Blaising on their interpretation of Isaiah passages, particularly 65:17-24 on the new heavens and the new earth (or is it the millennium?).  There are seventeen chapters plus the conclusion: “A Cumulative Case for Amillennialism.” Whether you agree or disagree with Storms’ position you will be challenged to think about your own.


On a practical note, there is often resistance to consider any other position than the one presently held, especially if that position has been held for a long time, has been the only position seriously studied, or if a change in position would prove costly. It might not hurt to ask this question: “What would happen if after further study of Scripture I came to a different position on eschatology?” If you are a pastor, professor, or missionary with a church, seminary, or mission agency committed to one of the other millennial varieties, and you begin to have some reservations about the level of eschatological certainty, you might find yourself in an awkward place unless you study/serve at a place where millennial views are not a test of fellowship.


As a student in college or seminary, you might find yourself unconvinced of your school’s position and wonder if you will graduate (see Storms on page 11). I personally know students who coming to the end of their seminary program did not hold to dispensational premillennialism (in spite of the required classes on eschatology) and faced this dilemma. In one case the student was asked to defend his amillennial position and the seminary did the right thing, in my opinion, and allowed the student to graduate. Further consideration needs to be given to how far one can go in fellowship and partnership when there is disagreement in this area. That’s for another time.

Leave a Reply