Everything in the Christian life is doctrine. Very often Christians equate “doctrine” with “theology.” That makes sense. We have the doctrine of God, doctrine of man, doctrine of Scripture, and so forth. Those are the Bible’s teachings on certain topics. Those doctrines are what we call theology.
But the word “doctrine” is simply the word “teaching.” Therefore, the Bible teaches us what to believe and how to live. The Bible teaches us theology and ethics. The Bible teaches us that God is a Trinity, and that we must worship Him. The Bible teaches us that man is sinful, and that we must confront sinners if we are to call ourselves Christians. The Bible teaches us that the church is God’s “called out” community, and that the church must love one another.
There is no dichotomy between doctrine and ethics, right theology and right living. The Bible teaches us what to believe is right theology, and what to believe is right living (i.e., “I believe God is one, and I believe a man should be faithful to his wife”). It is no wonder Paul would tell Timothy that the Law is meant to confront all who break the law– “lawless and disobedient…ungodly…murderers…sexually immoral…liars…and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1.8-11). Everything in the Christian life is doctrine. God has taught us what to believe about everything that has to do with pleasing Him.
This is why our church has a Statement of Faith (theology) and Church Covenant (ethics). It is the only way we know how to uphold Christian doctrine.
Dr. Tom Schreiner recently preached a sermon on Revelation 20 at our church. Regardless of your view on the Millennium, it was a blessing. He preached the gospel!
However, he did spend a few minutes discussing why he is now an Amillenial. He gives 6 reasons:
- A future, earthly Millenium is taught nowhere else explicitly in the Bible- a difficulty that all Premillenials accept
- Revelation is unquestionably full of recapitulation- so for Revelation 20 to re-tell history from another angle is not surprising
- The so-called Millenium texts of the OT are all over Revelation 21-22, not Rev 20- if the earthly Millennium was taught in places like Ezekiel 40-48 and Isaiah 60, you would expect Revelation 20 to allude to them. However Revelation 21-22 allude to them, and everyone agrees the last two chapters of the bible refer to the New Creation!
- The debates about the Millenium have always been around- I think Dr. Schreiner was saying Premillenials claim to have the historic position, but there have been forms of Postmillenialism and Amillenialism from the early church fathers period.
- Revelation 19 is the death of all the enemies of Christ- it is illogical to believe that all Christ’s enemies are killed at His Second Coming in chapter 19, then there is a 1000 year period where Satan can do nothing, then he’s released for a short time and there are innumerable enemies after the Millennium all of a sudden
- It’s the simplest- there is no doubt the simplicity of the Amillenial view is a part of its attractiveness. God does make important things in the Bible understandable to the unlearned
Numbers 3 and 5 are the two strongest arguments. And I would love to hear a reasoned defense by Premillenials against those objections. I am an Amillenial for all these reasons as well.
To these, I’ll add a seventh reason: Tom Schreiner is an Amillenial