In the wake of John MacArthur's recent and unfortunate comments about amillennialism, a number of you have emailed me, asking some variant of this basic question: "I have a great deal of respect for Dr. MacArthur and am troubled by what he said." Some felt he raised serious issues and wanted immediate responses, while others were just plain angered and wanted ammunition to fight back.
Let me respond to this by simply reiterating some of the basic amillennial resources currently available--resources of which Dr. MacArthur is obviously not aware, or sadly, chose not to consult. I have already mentioned some of these books in my previous post, but now want to take to time to explain why these particular volumes are important, especially if you are troubled by Dr. MacArthur's comments.
In light of MacArthur's "five questions" (Click here: Pulpit Magazine » Blog Archive » Why Calvinism Necessitates Premillennialism), these are books that all parties interested in this topic must read. Those of you who are dispensationalists and claim to be "Reformed" this especially applies to you. Don't just take MacArthur's word as the "last word." See for yourself if what he said about amillennialism is true and whether or not his dispensationalism stands up under biblical scrutiny.
The first is Mike Horton's God of Promise (Click here: Amazon.com: God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology: Books: Michael Horton). Covenant theology is the glue which holds Reformed theology together. Covenant theology is not a product of medieval-Reformation scholasticism which is then mechanically imposed on the biblical text. Horton argues that covenant theology is Scripture's own internal skeletal structure. So, start here. Read Horton, and interact with his arguments and biblical evidence.
The second is my own A Case for Amillennialism (Click here: Amazon.com: A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times: Books: Kim Riddlebarger). I make the case that as a Christian, the Christ-centered New Covenant is the hermeneutical lens through which I must read all of Scripture (even the Old Testament). I am not a Jew. Christ and the Apostles tell me what the Old Testament means (in terms of how it reveals Christ in type and shadow). The New Testament tells me how Christ and his church fulfills the Old Testament covenant promises. I also deal with important biblical passages like Daniel 9:24-27, Romans 9-11, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation 20.
The third is Dennis Johnson's Triumph of the Lamb (Click here: Amazon.com: Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation: Books: Dennis E. Johnson). If you are a dispensationalist, claim to be Reformed, and have not read the Christ-centered amillennial interpretation of Revelation, then shame on you! If you have a scholarly bent read Beale. But Johnson's work reaches similar conclusions, is accessible and devotional. You need to read this and see for yourself if it makes better sense of the biblical text than do dispensational commentators.
Fourth is Hoekema's The Bible and the Future (Click here: Amazon.com: The Bible and the Future: Books: Anthony A. Hoekema). I'll never forget reading it for the first time, just as I was questioning my own life-long commitment to dispensationalism. I was pushed over the edge. It is much more comprehensive than my own book, and is very, very, helpful. Had Dr. MacArthur bothered to read this, he would not have asked the four questions that he did, nor caricatured amillennialism. He may not have agreed with Hoekema, but he'd be forced to answer particular arguments and not set up straw men who are easily torn down.
Last is the "millennial debate" book, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Click here: Amazon.com: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond: Books: Darrell L. Bock,Jr., Kenneth L. Gentry,Robert B. Stri). Strimple makes the case for amillennialism, Blaising for premillennialism, and Gentry for postmillennialism. Strimple does a brilliant job. This book represents the proper temper and tone that any truly profitable discussion over differing millennial views ought to have. It is well worth reading.
I have long believed that anytime Reformed amillennialism is a given a fair hearing in premillennial and dispensational circles, people may not come away convinced (indeed, many are convinced), but they stop saying "amillennialists don't take the Bible literally," that our views are the same as "liberals" and Roman Catholics, and that we have no biblical support for our position.
For a thorough list of Reformed amillennial books, commentaries and studies, see the list here: Click here: Riddleblog - Reformed Amillennialism.
For a list of on-line sources, Click here: Riddleblog - Links to Helpful Books, Essays, and Charts. Just remember that on-line sources can never take the place of book-length treatises.