Addressing the Amillennial Alternative: Chapters 10-12
Well I just keep cranking all along. As of my writing tonight this delightful book is now finished. That said, I have a couple more detailed posts coming before I put forth the effort for a concise and rather limited review. But before then it is imperative to get through the closing chapters of this rather large book. Chapters that deal directly with the postmillennial perspective that I hold as well as some of the preterist views with which I agree.
Romans 11 and The "Future" of Israel
First, it should be understood that Storms' position on this lengthy text is one of more ambiguity (334). He certainly however does not lean toward a massive reconciliation of Israel before the final climax of history. On multiple occasions however, I felt as if Storms' was solely reading the chapter through the lens of baptistic paradigms (e.g. 306-308). There was very little room for a covenantal understanding of the text and the implications this has on covenantal election and rejection. Instead Storms resorts to traditional ethnic or individualistic paradigms that don't fit well in the chapter (327). This is all too common among Calvinist Baptists.
Storms has good critique of Murrary throughout the chapter. But he also fails to fully convince of how the saving of individual Jews throughout the course of history is a mystery (322-323). It seems quite unnatural given the trajectory he set, that the Old Testament has made a sudden jump from ethnicity to individual election. Admittedly, his arguments look better against a dispensational paradigm but I just don't get it.
The Kingdom of God: Now and Not Yet
Without offense to Sam Storms, this was one of the most boring chapters in Kingdom Come. That is not the same as saying that it wasn't good. But it was one of those chapters that was clearly driven by a concern for premillennial readers. Individuals familiar with postmillennial, historical premillennial, or amillennial positions will recognize that the language of "Already; Not Yet" has been adopted by everyone since the popularization of George Ladd (335). This chapter is a mini-course on eschatology and its finer, less millennial details. It continues to demonstrate a lack of covenant paradigms (341-344) while providing a rather good section on the resurrection (349-351). For those unfamiliar, and intrigued, with some of Storms' points I would recommend Richard Gaffin's By Faith, Not by Sight.
Ultimately, this chapter explicates things that just seem out of place. It doesn't flow with the chapters that surround it despite being an important chapter when attempting to alter a premillennial paradigm. Perhaps it should have been placed closer to the front of Kingdom Come instead of right before Storms' evaluation of postmillennialism.
The Postmillennial View of the Kingdom of God
I'm going to begin by saying the Sam Storms without question is one of the most gracious writers towards postmillennialism that I am aware of. His writing spanning multiple chapters is helpful to refuting errors commonly associated with postmillennialism (376-380). The "weaknesses of postmillennialism" (383-384) highlight how crucial a preterist paradigm is to the continuation of postmillennial thinking. I think this chapter is best summed up by Storms own admission, "I want to believe that postmillennialism is true...But as of the publication of this book, I am not yet convinced. I remain an amillennialist" (384).
It is interesting and ironic that some of the truthfulness of Storms would actually hurt him in the long run. But I was continually surprised by how open to postmillennialism and preterism Storms in fact is. As one who holds these views I found it encouraging but at the same time not something that convinced me to recommend this book to amillennial friends seeking to refute postmillennialism. I'll speak more to this in upcoming posts.