This is the final installment from an article by Reformed Amillennial apologist Ron Cammenga, pastor of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church in Grandville, Michigan. Part #1 is here. Be sure to begin with that first article and read all of the ensuing ones, to catch the full force of what is being said. Mr. Cammenga sets forth a strong case demonstrating the total inconsistency of the Postmillennial world in its claims to being “creedal” and orthodox.
The Reformed Creeds and Premillennial-Dispensationalism
With the same rigor with which the Reformed creeds repudiate postmillennialism, they reject also premillennial-dispensationalism.
It was for this reason that D.H. Kromminga, sympathetic to the main tenets of premillennialism, attempted to persuade the Christian Reformed Church in the 1940s to change Article 37 of the Belgic Confession. In Perspectives on the Christian Reformed Church, in a chapter entitled “The Premillennial Eschatology of Dietrich Hinrich Kromminga,” Harry R. Boer writes,
“For the most part (sic) premillennialism cannot be harmonized with the official Reformed creedal basis. Article 37 of the Belgic Confession, one of the three creeds of the CRC, teaches ‘…we believe … that, when the time appointed by the Lord … is come and the number of the elect complete … our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven … to declare Himself Judge of the living and the dead.’
For Kromminga the critical phrase in the statement was ‘and the number of the elect complete.’ This confessional assertion effectively bars belief in the return of Christ before a millennial period in the course of which men will be brought to Christ to complete the fullness of the church and thereby the fullness of the elect (p. 153).
If the Reformed faith parts ways with Roman Catholicism over the little word “alone” (grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone), it parts company with premillennial-dispensationalism over the word “one.” That little word, all by itself, is the difference between Reformed amillennialism and the premillennial-dispensational teaching that is at odds with Reformed amillennialism. The Reformed amillennialist teaches one people of God in both the Old and New Testaments, one coming of Jesus Christ, one resurrection, one final judgment.
Both Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer 52, and Article 37 of the Belgic Confession speak of the(in the singular) final judgment. There is no mention anywhere in these creeds of another judgment than this judgment. In the same places, these creeds speak of the coming of Christ, not of comings of Christ. And absolutely no notion of a secret rapture.
Consistently the creeds identify the church of the Old Testament and the church of the New Testament. They are fundamentally one.
It will suffice to refer in this connection to the Heidelberg Catechism. According to Question and Answer 19 of the Catechism, the same gospel that is preached in the Reformed church today was the gospel first revealed by God in Paradise, afterwards published by the patriarchs and prophets, and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the Old Testament law. Question and Answer 31 make Christ our King, that is, the King of New Testament believers. According to Question and Answer 54, the church, the one church, is gathered by the Son of God from the beginning to the end of the world. Question and Answer 74 deal with infant baptism. In the 74th Answer there is identification made between the old and the new covenant. Essentially there is one covenant of God, so that baptism replaces circumcision. And Question and Answer 123 identify the church and the kingdom of God.
Article 25 of the Belgic Confession is a very decisive article in repudiating premillennial-dispensationalism. The article is entitled, “Of the abolishing of the Ceremonial Law.” With regard to the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Old Testament, it is the teaching of the article “… that the use of them must be abolished amongst Christians.” That is significant! The creedal Reformed position is that the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Old Testament have been abolished, abolished once and for all, abolished forever. They have not been temporarily set aside in order after the present hiatus to be restored in some future millennial kingdom, as is the teaching of premillennial-dispensationalism. They have been abolished!
Amillennialism is the creedal Reformed position. To embrace the Reformed confessions is to embrace amillennial eschatology. To reject amillennialism, whether for postmillennialism or premillennial-dispensationalism, is necessarily to reject the Reformed creeds.
But the Reformed creeds, in this critical matter of the doctrine of the last things and the return of Christ, are biblical.
Note from Don K. Preston: See my upcoming book, AD 70 A Shadow of the “Real” End? for a revealing look at how the Dominionists (and the Amillennialists) are in direct opposition to the creeds, and worse, how the creeds are diametrically opposed to scripture. Specifically, I examine the Nicene Creedal statement on eschatology and show how it is 100% at odds with the inspired text. That book will be available shortly so be looking for it!