Date of Award

1992

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Hans K. LaRondelle

Second Advisor

Kenneth A. Strand

Third Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Abstract

This study presents a historical and theological inquiry of one of the most influential eschatological views in America's evangelical and premillennial fundamentalist circles: dispensational premillennialism.

My objective is threefold: (1) to survey the main factors that contributed to the rise of dispensational premillennialism, (2) to evaluate its claims to the historical and theological roots, and (3) to portray and to assess the eschatology ofthis system as it has been enunciated by John F. Walvoord.

To achieve these purposes, after a brief introductory chapter, we begin in chapter 2 by showing the development of premillennialismsince the days of the early church until thenineteenth century.

Chapter 3 examines the role and impact offuturism upon premillennialism. The chapter also discusses the claims of Dispensationalism concerning its continuity with the premillennialism of the early church. The historical rise of dispensational premillennialism is traced to John Nelson Darby. The last part of the chapter surveys the theological roots of this system. It shows that some features of the chiliasm of theearly church that seem to come from Jewish apocalypticism appear in dispensational premillennialism. Special attention is given to Lacunza's millenarian ideas that show a close parallel with most of the tenets of modern Dispensationalism.

Chapter 4 describes the premillennial eschatology of John F. Walvoord who is a widely known contemporary representative of classic Dispensationalism.

Chapter 5 utilizes the findings of chapters 3 and 4 and provides a critical evaluation of the historical and theological backgrounds of dispensational premillennialism within the history of Christian doctrinal development from the Scriptures. Walvoord's hermeneutics, ecclesiology, pretribulational eschatology, and the nature of the millennial kingdom are evaluated on their own merits.

The final chapter presents the summary and conclusions of this study.

Subject Area

Millennialism, Dispensationalism, Walvoord, John F.

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