The Millennial Maze

I recently read this small book on the millennial debate by Stanley J. Grenz, the late professor of theology and ethics at Regent College, and it was so good I have to recommend it to anyone looking for a primer on the subject. Grenz writes as a Christian whose theological journey has taken him out of the older dispensationalism,  through historic premillennialism, and into an amillennialism which retains the corporate and creational emphases more common to pre- and post-millennialism. He summarizes his approach in the preface: "In contrast to the 'unearthly' emphasis on a spiritual realm, characteristic of many classical amillennialists, I believe that the biblical vision demands that we focus our attention on a transformed creation as our final abode. In this task of making sense of who we are to be--and to become--as the people of God in the world, I find helpful theological insights in all the millennial positions."

To be honest, it's really hard to find anything worthwhile on Revelation 20, mostly because the debate has become so polarized that the different camps usually prefer to just dig their feet into the ground and preach to themselves rather than engage in any real dialog with the other side. But that's the great virtue of this volume. Instead of painting the standard caricatures of opposing views, Grenz constantly treats each camp with charity and grace while simultaneously offering a fresh and sharp assessment of their pros and cons. He has the critical perspective and spirit-filled wisdom that most treatments of this kind lack, and he avoids many of the pitfalls into which most other books on eschatology fall.

Best of all, Grenz shows a constant concern for application through the maze of different perspectives, showing why it all matters and how it affects the life and thought of the church as it reaches out into the world. If I ever taught a class on the subject, this would be required reading.

Recommended Resources in this Post

1757: Millennial Maze Millennial Maze
By Stanley Grenz / InterVarsity Press

In The Millennial Maze, Stanley J. Grenz provides historical and biblical, as well as theological, perspective on the four positions held by evangelicals - postmillennialism, dispensational premillennialism, historic premillennialism and amillennialism. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each position, he seeks to cut a new path through the maze that reaffirms the valid insights of each and sounds a fresh note of hope in an age of shattered illusions.

As an added bonus, readers will find that Grenz takes note of some of the latest developments in the dialog between dispensationalists and covenant theologians. The result has been some modifications in long-held positions that have brought the two groups closer.