"Let us preach to the glory of God and pay no attention to the judgment of men. If someone can preach better, let him preach better. Let us preach only Christ and the Catechism. This is the wisdom that exalts us, because it is the Word of God. Praise and censure mean nothing to us."
"A sincere preacher must consider the young people, the servants and maids in the church, those who lack education. He must accommodate himself to them as a nursing mother does to her infant. She prattles with the child and nurses it at her breast, since it needs no wine or malvasia. So preachers should also act; they should be simple in their sermons. But when they come to me, to Philipp, or to Pomeranus, they may let us hear how leaned they are; then they may be exposed. But to spout Greek, Hebrew, and Latin in sermons in order to have admiring people praise them is conceit and is out of place."
"Maledictions upon every preacher who strives after the sublime in the church with an eye to his own glory, ambitious to gain in the favor of someone or another. When I preach here at Wittenberg, I descend to the lowest level. I do not look at the doctors and magistrates, of whom about forty are present, but at the hundred or thousand young people. To these I preach; to these I address myself. They need instruction. If the others do not want to listen - the door is open."
This issue is too complex for a blog post, but here are several reasons that could tip one towards Amillennialism:
- Death ends when Christ returns.
- Revelation 20 is a heavenly vision.
- In Revelation 20, Satan is bound with respect to deceiving the nations.
- Revelation 19 shows that the nations are wiped out.
- Surely Paul would have mentioned a future millennium if there was one.
- Christ is reigning over his enemies now.
- There is one resurrection for the just and unjust.
- Revelation 21-22 quotes Isa 60 and 65 as referring to the eternal state.
- The land promises are fulfilled in the new earth, not an earthly millennium.
- It doesn't make sense to say that unbelievers will continue to rebel in the presence of the risen, glorified Christ.
- The creation is freed from the curse when Christ returns.
- Resurrected bodies mingling with non-resurrected bodies seems strange.
For more on amillennialism, see Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillennialism, Hoekema's The Bible and the Future, or Venema's The Promise of the Future. Here is a book list.
In no particular order:
- Total Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis - The authors urge us to reshape church around gospel and community. I had read this one before and took our church through it this year. Very balanced.
- Christless Christianity by Michael Horton - Horton critically examines contemporary Christianity and shows that it desperately needs theology with a heavy dose of teaching on the doctrine of justification.
- To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson - Very well written biography of Adoniram Judson. What a faithful man of God!
- Church Planting is for Wimps by Mike McKinley - McKinley is a young guy, but has wisdom beyond his years. I highly recommend this book to all pastors.
- From Sabbath to Lord's Day ed. by D.A. Carson - Dense but very helpful treatment of this thorny issue. While not using the label, the authors argue for a "new covenant" view of the Sabbath.
- The Mission of God by Christopher Wright - He argues we should read the Bible with the mission of God as our framework. With a focus on the OT, he unpacks the missional nature of Scripture, the God of mission, the people of mission, and the arena of mission. Good biblical theology.
- Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson - Wow. By far the best read of the year. Not sure how to describe this book (maybe Donald Miller meets Cornelius Van Til meets BBC). Just get it.
- Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross by Michael Gorman - "conformity to the crucified Christ." Sort of a neglected, but prominent theme in Paul's writings.
- God the Peacemaker by Graham Cole - Great treatment of the atonement. His systematic theology is informed by biblical theology. God's plan is for God's people to be in God's place under God's rule living God's way enjoying shalom in God's holy and loving presence to God's glory. The cross is fundamental to that end.
- The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission by John Dickson - maybe the best book on evangelism I have read (especially for our postmodern context).