Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Historical Premillennialist Takes Issue With Pretribulational Dispensationalism

Dr. George Eldon Ladd (1911-1982)

Why does George Ladd, foremost Historical Premillennialist of the last century, dismiss Dispensationalism? In "The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views" he says that Dispensationalists expect the millennium to be all about the Davidic kingdom with all its sacrifices; then he notes that this is impossible because of Hebrews 8 which notes that the old covenant is obsolete—we have a new covenant.

Ladd maintains that Dispensational Premillennialism was an idea that was hatched N. J. Darby and others in the 19th century. Meetings and Bible conferences were held in the early 1800s and at one of these C. I. Scofield hatched the idea for his reference Bible. The Rapture was added before the tribulation—hence pretribulationalism.

Historical Premillennialist Ladd then states in "The Blessed Hope": “We can find no trace of pretribulationism in the early church; and no modern pretribulationist has successfully proved that this particular doctrine was held by any of the church fathers or students of the Word before the nineteenth century.” (p. 31) Christ is to come after the tribulation according to Ladd who uses Scripture to prove his case. A pretribulation rapture is “not supported by any affirmations in the Word of God” (p. 88) Ladd notes that by defining the blessed hope “in terms of escape from suffering rather than union with Christ [one] may be guilty of the positive danger of leaving the Church unprepared for tribulation when Antichrist appears. . . . Questions of theology are not decided by our desires or dislikes; they are decided by appeal to the Word of God. ” (p. 164)

22 comments:

  1. Ladd's overall position appears to be of more recent vintage than Classic Dispensationalism. Thus I find it ironic that he's now considered to be the standard bearer for Historic Premillenialism. He departed significantly from the historic premillenialism of men like Horatius Bonar, J.C. Ryle and C.H. Spurgeon, just to name a few. None of the above men were pretrib, but they all believed in a physical restoration of the Jews to the land, which today is generally regarded as a dispensational distinctive.

    http://futureisraelministries.org/horatius_bonar.html

    http://futureisraelministries.org/j_c_ryle.html

    http://futureisraelministries.org/c_h_spurgeon.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Chris. Will look into this. Ladd's view of the kingdom is so interesting. Will be writing on that also along with blogging about amil positions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ladd's view of the kingdom is indeed interesting. Russell Moore's "Kingdom of Christ" explores it heavily. Interestingly, Ladd's view of the kingdom was appealed to by the late John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard Movement) in developing his "Power Evangelism."

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is a mistake in your post. Ladd did not teach that Jesus was to return "after the millennium." He taught Jesus would return after the tribulation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks. Post was corrected in RED as noted by Market Place Evangelism.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It would seem that Pat Robertson and George Eldon Ladd agree. This can be seen in his book called The Secret Kingdom and Ladd's book known as the Gospel of the Kingdom. Even on this side of the Second Advent, both theologians agree that Christ is on the throne of David in heaven and that the invisible kingdom of God is on earth now. As a Baptist, I must agree. Edward Miller, BA, MAR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mr. Miller, for pointing this out.
      Cordially,
      Carol

      Delete
    2. Hello Dr. Carol,

      It is so nice of you to respond to my comment. There is something interesting that I would like to mention to you. It has to do with a new view called Partial Preterist Historic Premillennialism. I was thinking one day and this concept came to me. I am not saying that I am the first to think of this; however, I had never seen it mentioned before. I sent a number of emails to several seminaries and received several responses. All agreed that they had never considered the idea; however, none saw why it was not possible. A few months later, I found a book recommended by Regent University called Victorious Eschatology: A Partial Preterist View. There were two writers: Martin Trench and Harold Erble. Trench was a modern postmillennialist and Erble held partial preterist historic premillennialism. As you probably know, both views stated that the tribulation was in AD 70. I studied at Liberty University School of Divinity in 1993. As you know, they are pretribulationists; however, the more I studied, the more I began to reject this view. I had read a book on partial preterist amillennialism and then thought that partial preterist historic premillennialism could be possible too. Have you ever read this book and if so, have you considered this concept? May God bless you and have a nice Sunday. Edward Miller

      Delete
    3. I wrestled with "Amil" and "Postmil" on this blog and decided on Postmil. Have you read any of Ken Gentry's books? He and my Pastor, Kenneth Talbot, are my GO TO authorities for such questions.

      Cordially,
      Carol

      Delete
  7. I have talked with Dr. Gentry and spoken about his thoughts and ideas. I call him an optimistic amillennialist since he believes like BB Warfield, a distant cousin to Mrs. Wallis Simpson. I have also read John Jefferson Davis, a Chiliastic Postmillennialist. The book was interesting. I still like the Partial Preterist Historic Premillennial view. Also, I like your blog. I do not believe as Ladd that the Anti-Christ is future; on the contrary, I believe he was the Emperor Domitian of Rome. Do you know why I reject pretribulationalism? I reject it for this reason: Babies born before the rapture get to go to heaven. There is only one rapture according to this view; therefore, babies born after the rapture don't get to go to heaven. That is not just. I must get ready for church now. It has been truly great to blog with you. You are a good scholar. God bless. Edward

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edward,
      The argument of babies going to hell has often been debated. I feel that with Reformed theology many put who is saved and who is not saved in the Lord's hands solely. Fairness means that none of us deserves to be saved, but we can be assured that all the elect will be saved.
      Cordially,
      Carol

      Delete
  8. Dear Carol,

    It was nice for you to respond. I suppose our difference lies here: I am a one point Calvinist who is otherwise an Arminian. We Southern Baptists are just that way. To me, Jesus has His arms opened to all people who will accept Him. God does not elect who is saved and who is lost; on the contrary, He allows us to make that decision ourselves. If we accept Him, we are saved. If we reject Him, we are lost. We make the decision and God only caries out the blessing of salvation or carries out the sentence of hell on those who are lost. God does not elect us to our final destiny; on the contrary, we do it ourselves. If God only decided who goes to heaven or who goes to hell, then what is the point of missions and missionaries. There is an old postmillennial hymn from the nineteenth century called "We have a story to tell to the Nations." If God only decides one's eternal destiny, then postmillennialists in the nineteenth century would have no story to tell. You and I do agree on one issue: The Eternal Security of the Believer. That is why I am a Southern Baptist as opposed to a Freewill Baptist. May God bless you. Your blog is quite interesting. Edward

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship?

      Delete
  9. I just thought about something. This reminds me as Ebenezer Scrooge. He asked the ghost of Christmas future if the things were only shadows that could be or if these were things that will be. It seems that Charles Dickens was thinking along the same lines. Your friend, Edward

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to my FL pastor, Dr. Kenneth Talbot, John Gill was a Historical Premil Preterist so you are in good company. All So Baptists are not Arminians. Certainly Al Mohler is Reformed.

      Delete
  10. It is true what you are saying about some Baptists; however, Southern Baptists are a convention and not a denomination as United Methodists and Presbyterians. Even though we have the Baptist faith and Message, it mentions nothing about certain issues. Therefore, we can be Arminians or Calvinist. This can exist in one church. Therefore, Baptists can be Arminians as well as one point Calvinists. I believe like John Wesley; however, I am a one point Calvinist. For this reason, I can believe in the eternal security of the believer. I was in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, however, I found them to be too liberal on social issues. For that same reason, I left the Democratic Party and I am now an independent who will vote in the Republican Primary. The church to which I now attend is a member of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. I have a Master of Arts in Religion from Liberty University School of Divinity; however, I do not agree with them on all issues. My current church has tradition non-charismatic services. Most Southern Baptists now have become semi-charismatic. I don't like that. You are correct when you say Al Mohler is reformed. I believe he may be at Southern Baptist Seminary. The Rev. Neal Sasser, a friend of mine, offered me a chaplaincy at Maryview Hospital even though he is a Cooperative Baptist. He said he would forgive me for going to Liberty University for the MA in Religion. The MAR is the same thing as the MA in Ministry at Luther Rice College and Seminary, another SBC school. In any case, I will need to see if John Gill's book is in print again. Also, my pastor is reformed and we are the best of friends. Carol, I appreciate your blog very much. You are a nice lady. God bless. Edward

    ReplyDelete
  11. I will look for the John Gill book on eschatology. Perhaps the Banner of Truth will have something. Edward

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be interested in your thoughts after studying John Gill. We always have to base everything on Scripture. That was how I decided on Postmill, but I did struggle to get there.

      Delete
  12. I can only say that I do not accept Hyper Calvinism or Postmillennialism. I remain a one point Calvinist who is otherwise an Arminian. I can accept either Historic Premillennialism or Nonmillennialism. In any case, I wish you all of God's blessings. Arminian and Calvinistic Baptists existed in England and America in the 16th century. Roger Williams, the founder of the first Baptist Church in America was originally an Arminianist. Edward

    ReplyDelete
  13. The world worries me today. It is not what it was fifty years ago. I taught school for a while and could not believe what was going on there. It is my opinion that the Supreme Court made a terrible mistake not long ago and could lead to a world I hope will never exist. I look forward to the day when Jesus comes and we have a new heaven and a new earth. I am so tired of hearing about certain things on our televisions. I feel that Congress should amend the constitution so that Justices on our highest court in the land cannot serve more than ten years. We claim to be a democracy; however, that is really not the case. We have a monarchy in our Supreme Court. Henry Wynns

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, our world has changed so much, Henry. We have to pray that our nation and the world return to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. No one can predict when Christ will return to gather his elect, but we have to want Him to come soon, judge the world and establish a new order we have been promised.

      Delete

Please be very respectful when you comment. I will try to respond to all comments in a timely manner. All comments are now moderated.