Addressing the Amillennial Alternative: Chapters 5-6
As I continue walking through Sam Storms' Kingdom Come, I continue to wish this book had been written sooner. Many years ago now, it feels like, I was beginning to have serious questions about the Premillennialism that I had been raised on. Recommended amillennial and postmillennial sources were few and hard to find apart from the internet. I had committed myself to reading some premillennial literature on the book of Revelation. Ultimately I came away frustrated but not fully knowing why. As I look back now, everything in Stroms' chapter five was what I was bashing my head against...
Problems with Premillennialism
Since accepting the postmillennial position I have joke that only the historic premillennial position could sway me. Well after this chapter that is completely off the table. Containing, by far, the most notes I've written on a single chapter, this piece of work is worth the price of the book for individuals seeking to confront their premillennial fears or addresses the theology of others. There is an essential "death list" of what premillennialists must believe (136-137) that Storms proceeds to demonstrate actually flies in the face of New Testament theology. He calls the hermeneutical preeminence of Revelation 20 "illogical" (142) and letting "the apocalyptic tail wag the epistolary dog" (143) going so far as to say the premillennial view of Revelation 20 "contradicts" other passages written by Paul.
In a very beneficial set of pages, Storms puts to rest the idea that the early patristics supported premillennial theology using the very sources often quoted by DTS adherents (172-176). However, preterists (especially of the postmillennial sort) will find he continues to use passages a little too freely (2 Thess 1; 2 Pet 3:8-13; Isa 65). There remains a ton in this chapter to enjoy but I leave it for those who purchase the book.
Who are the People of God? Israel, the Church, and "Replacement" Theology
This chapter is a little autobiographical early on as Storms discusses the impact Ephesians 2 had on his theology (180-189). As I taught through Ephesians 2-3, I was able to convince quite a few people that Dispensational theology cannot withstand the onslaught of these key passages. I have even gone so far in more private conversations that it could be argued that Dispensationalists believe in a different type of "justification" when they deny these passages speak the truth concerning the state of the church and ethnic Israel. Many other good passages are used to show the church is the "fulfillment" of Israel and they could prove valuable for those who regularly have these types of discussions.
I will quip briefly at Storms for a couple hermeneutical things. First, he falls back to the "twenty-four" elders of Revelation as the combined tribes (Israel) and apostles (church) (204). The text doesn't say two groups of twelve but one group of twenty-four in a temple/worship context. Though Storms acknowledges the interpretation that this could be "David's organization of the temple servants," he unfairly discards this more harmonious view for something that makes a better prooftext. Second, he does a similar move on 1 Peter (220). I know that Calvin and I are now in the minority believing that Peter was writing to Jews but I do still dislike the use of the references. Finally, major disagreements appear on the horizon as Storms pre-anticipates his topic chapter 10: the future of Israel. He and I won't agree on Romans 11. Should be fun!