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A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative "Left Behind" Eschatology

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Twentieth and twenty-first-century American evangelicalism, particularly at the popular level, has been virtually saturated with the eschatology of dispensational premillennialism. The distinctive teachings of that system, in particular its affirmation of the pretribulation rapture of the church, have become so pervasive that many evangelicals would be hard pressed to identify an alternative approach. Popular novels that disseminate dispensationalism to a wider readership have only furthered that trend.

The contributors to this volume provide a thoughtful alternative. They present compelling arguments for historic or classic premillennialism—a position widely held throughout church history (and popularly advanced in the writings of George Eldon Ladd). An introductory chapter examines the differences within premillennial eschatology and considers reasons for the widespread popularity of dispensationalism in the twentieth century. This is followed by biblical, theological, historical, and missiological studies that reexamine classic premillennialism, particularly with regard to its understanding of the return of Christ.

The authors, all respected scholars in their fields, present arguments for a return to an eschatological theology that was widely held for many centuries. Their engaging studies should be of great interest to evangelical readers—both in the academy and in the church.

Essential for students, scholars, pastors, and laypeople, this informative volume brings fresh perspectives on theological matters. With the Logos Bible Software edition, searching by topic or Scripture references will further help your understanding—you’ll compare, for example, the systematic theologies of various scholars or denominations.

Key Features

  • Discusses the eschatology of dispensational premillennialism
  • Provides an alternative in classic premillennialism
  • Examines the differences between the two viewpoints


  • “Dispensational and Historic Premillennialism as Popular Millennialist Movements,” by Timothy P. Weber
  • “The Future Written in the Past: The Old Testament and the Millennium,” by Richard S. Hess
  • “Judaism and the World to Come,” by Hélène Dallaire
  • “The Posttribulationism of the New Testament: Leaving ‘Left Behind’ Behind,” by Craig L. Blomberg
  • “The Theological Method of Premillennialism,” by Don J. Payne
  • “Contemporary Millennial/Tribulational Debates: Whose Side Was the Early Church On?” by Donald Fairbairn
  • “Toward the Reformed and Covenantal Theology of Premillennialism: A Proposal,” by Sung Wook Chung
  • “Premillennial Tensions and Holistic Missiology: Latin American Evangelism,” by Oscar A. Campos


Praise for the Print Edition

It’s about time we had a scholarly presentation and defense of historic premillennialism, which is probably the majority view of the ‘end times’ among theologically trained evangelicals. These authors are eminently qualified to give us that, and here they have done it. All evangelicals and others interested in alternatives to the popular folk religious beliefs about the ‘end times’ must read this book. If read carefully by many, it will turn the growing tide of ‘pretrib rapturism’ and restore the eschatology of the Bible and the church fathers.

Roger E. Olson, professor of theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

This book provides a welcome alternative to popular notions of the end-times, which sometimes seem to be recycled news headlines. Particularly helpful is the book’s critique of ‘left-behind’ theology, which I believe can be defended only by taking a lot of Scripture out of context.

Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

A welcome conversation piece in eschatological studies. . . . It is recommended for students, pastors, and scholars.

Theological Book Review

[This] volume represents a more formal and sustained presentation of historic premillennialism than has been offered since the work of the late George Eldon Ladd. . . . A Case for Historic Premillennialism is a valuable contribution to millennial discussions.

Trinity Journal

Blomberg and Chung offer a generally readable and interesting collection of essays arguing for the relative merits of the historic version [of premillennialism], as well as for the merits of premillennialism in general. . . . This edited volume covers most of the topics in good introductory fashion.

Christian Reflection

The authors of these essays are excellent scholars and their arguments in support of their views are presented well. They defend a legitimate Christian eschatological position and they do so competently. . . . This book is a helpful explanation and defense of posttribulational premillennialism. It is a good introduction to the biblical and historical support for that position and serves as a good place to start for those who desire to understand it better.

Bibliotheca Sacra

Product Details

About the Editors

Craig L. Blomberg is a distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He is the author or editor of 13 books, including Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, Jesus and the Gospels, and Making Sense of the New Testament.

Sung Wook Chung is an associate professor of Christian theology and the director of Korean Initiatives at Denver Seminary. He is the author of Karl Barth and Evangelical Theology and editor of Christ the One and Only: A Global Affirmation of the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

Resource Experts

Top Highlights

“Given the dominant structure of the Old Testament prophetic messages, the example of Jesus Christ, and the consistent experience of God’s people throughout history, it is difficult to believe that any future great tribulation will not also include God’s people.” (Page 28)

“The problem is solved, however, if we understand Jesus to mean that this great tribulation beginning at AD 70 would in some way continue until his second coming.” (Page 74)

“Dr. Harris reminded us that the purpose of prophecy was to receive encouragement to live faithfully and not ‘to satisfy idle curiosity.’” (Page 24)

“John Wesley’s approach to biblical interpretation: Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience” (Page 92)

“Not long ago it would have seemed incongruous for Presbyterian or Christian Reformed churches to advocate anything except the amillennialism so consistently supported by John Calvin and his theological successors in the Calvinist and Reformed wing of the Protestant Reformation.” (Pages xiii–xiv)


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  1. Mark McDonnel

    Mark McDonnel