John Piper Backs Professor's End Times Theory of Premillennialism

Theologian John Piper explains what it means to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
Theologian John Piper explains what it means to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. | (Screenshot: DesiringGod)

Reformed theologian John Piper affirmed his belief that the second coming of Christ is coming soon and indicated that he is a premillennialist. In other words, Piper believes Jesus Christ will come on earth and reign for 1,000 years.

Piper was responding to an "Ask Pastor John" question regarding theologian George Eldon Ladd, his former professor of New Testament at Fuller Seminary who died in 1982 but left behind influential teachings and analysis on Christian end times understanding.

He first affirmed that Ladd was evangelical in the sense that he believed: in the inerrancy of the Bible, in the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross, in the necessity of hearing the gospel in order to be saved, that people must be born again in order to escape hell, and in the necessity of good works as a demonstration of faith.

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He then explained that Ladd's book, The Presence of the Future, was a "path-breaking" one in how it described eschatology (regarding the end times).

"[E]schatology is not simply what happens in the future at the end of the age. But since Christ the Messiah — expected for the end of the age — has come and has broken into the present age and brought the kingdom of God to the present, he brought the future into the present so that all of life is eschatological. The future is here because the present participates in the 'already' of the kingdom, but the 'not yet' of the consummation," Piper said, explaining the paradigm that Ladd presented.

Regarding Ladd's specific beliefs about the end times, Piper said that he was best known for his "strong affirmation of premillennial eschatology and the post-tribulation return of Christ."

"In other words, he did not believe that the church would be raptured from the world, followed then by a period of tribulation, followed by the second coming. Rather, he believed that the next major event on God's eschatological calendar — after the revealing of the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2 and a great period of tribulation — is the second coming. 

"At that second coming, Jesus would establish his earthly millennial kingdom for a thousand years, after which Satan would be released. There would be a great final battle, and then the inauguration of the final state of the new heavens and the new earth. This is now called (and has been called anyway for years) historic premillennialism."

Piper said that he found the premillennial arguments "compelling" and continue to do so. "So I'll be happy to be a Ladd-like premillennialist today," he said.

According to a survey of evangelical leaders in 2011, a majority (65 percent) identified with premillennial theology, which teaches that Jesus Christ will return after a period of tribulation and reign with His followers on earth for 1,000 years.

Thirteen percent of evangelical leaders, meanwhile, identified with amillennial theology and 4 percent with postmillennial. 

While evangelicals disagree on the exact events of the end times, many agree that they are currently living in the end times. 

Back in November, Piper warned those preparing for the dangers of a nuclear doomsday due to the conflict with North Korea that Jesus is the one true shelter.

He argued that risks and dangers are "normal for the Christian life, not exceptional."

He also said that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a follower of Jesus.

"If we are really doing all our self-preservation out of love, what about the people who are going to die eternally for lack of the gospel? Are we taking the same steps as seriously to preserve them for eternity? Bottom line: How can we make Christ look like he really is — the supreme treasure of our lives?" he challenged Christians. 

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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