Letters

God’s Patience with Theologians

First, let me tell you how much I’m enjoying my subscription to the Standard Bearer. To one who has newly revived his interest in the Reformed faith, your journal is a constant source of encouragement and help.

I am puzzled by the editorial in the April 1, 1995 issue, “A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism,” and I have a few questions.

First, although I understand the distinction between the various millennialisms, I’m not sure I now understand the amillennial position on the millennium itself. One paragraph states, “Coming is a ‘golden age.’ It will last at least for a thousand years, perhaps a hundred thousand years.”

I always thought amillennialism taught that there would be no millennium at all. Now I see that there will indeed be one, only the length of time is not yet determined. Is this correct?

My second question concerns the citation from Dr. Gary North. He raises an issue that really puzzles me:

It is always the task of Trinitarian theologians to discover what is biblically correct. When a theologian has concluded that a particular view is correct, he should seek to make his discovery a test of orthodoxy—if not in his own era, if that is premature, then someday.”

This frightens me. Is Gary North really saying that biblical truth, indeed orthodoxy itself, should be determined by theologians? Isn’t this what got us into this mess in the first place? Are there no eternal verities not subject to the whims of theologians?

Dr. Paul Tillich tells a story that is relevant here. He reports that a student once asked him, “Dr. Tillich, we all know that psychiatrists do not like their patients to come to them claiming to have some special knowledge of psychiatry. It just complicates the whole process. Do you think this is how God feels when the theologians come to Him? Tillich’s answer, reportedly, was, “I suppose so.”

I wonder if God does not sometimes lose His patience with the theologians.

Jeffrey Needle

Chula Vista, CA

Response:

You misunderstood. The lines you quote from the editorial are describing the views of the postmillennialists. They teach that a golden age is coming.

You are correct: “amillennialism (teaches) that there (will) be no millennium at all,” that is, no literal thousand years.

The only, and sure, standard of sound doctrine is Holy Scripture.

Does God lose patience with the theologians?

He is longsuffering toward all His children.

You may very well be right: especially toward His theologian-children.

—Ed.