I teach at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, and last week we hosted Dr. Richard Bauckham for a lecture on the biblical book of Revelation. Dr. Bauckham’s lecture was titled “How To Read the Book of Revelation.” The main point of his address was to explain how the genre of Revelation should effect the proper interpretation of the same.
What was fascinating to me was the Q&A time at the end. Criswell College has a premillenial confessional statement, which suggests a certain reading of Revelation 20 that does not cohere with Dr. Bauckham’s. At the very beginning of the Q&A you’ll hear me ask Dr. Bauckham whether reading Revelation “symbolically” thereby removes any correspondence to future sequences of events. This was the question that I raised in my previous note about his book, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (read it here).
For those of you who don’t know Dr. Bauckham, he is one of the luminaries of the scholarly guild of New Testament Studies. Currently, he is at Cambridge University in England, though he is devoting a great deal of his time to writing and traveling. Some of you may remember that I briefly noted one of Bauckham’s other books, Jesus and the Eyewitness. It was a great honor to have him on our campus.
In any case, you can listen to the audio below, or download it here.[audio:https://www.dennyburk.com/Audio/2008_03_04-Richard_Bauckham_Lecture_Criswell_College.mp3]
Here are some pictures from the event.
I think Bauckham’s little book on Revelation is the best thing that has been written on this book–it should be required reading for all Christian pastors and teachers. I pray the Lord will allow Dr. Bauckham many more years of productive study and writing for the good of His kingdom. But sorry, Denny…I think the amillenial interpretation of Revelation 20 is clearly the correct one! (See Beale’s commentary, and some of the stuff written by Sam Storms, Vern Poythress and Kim Riddlebarger on this) By the way, I didn’t see how premillenialism is implied in your confession of faith?
I’ve also been heavily impacted by that same little book on Revelation. My edition was a little scary though with it’s solid black background and dark red writing. Anyways, I love the book, and also Beale’s commentary which I think we could all agree is the current standard for scholarship in the book of Revelation.
Anyways, I like you have often been confused why some professors claimed that the Baptist Faith and Message was exclusively premillennial. It seemed especially odd whenever I considered that some of the authors and contributers were postmillennial and amillennial.
Denny, if you wouldn’t mind, could you share with us why you consider the BF&M to be premillennial?
You have helped to uncover a mistake on Criswell College’s new website!
You are correct. The BF&M 2000 is not premillenial. Criswell College’s doctrinal statement consists of the BF&M 2000 and four additions, one of which is a premillenial statement. Here’s how the College’s article on the “Last Things” reads. The addition is in bold.
So you see that our doctrinal statement is explicitly premillenial, though not clearly pre-tribulational. I’m going to write our website administrator to get this fixed.
Very interesting post. Good stuff. For me I read Revelation as more of a historical, literacy, and symbolically type of book.
Best line: “Those who read Revelation literally do not do it consistently.”
Simply brilliant. Yes I affirm the premillenial position, however I really do not think there will be monsters running all around the place.
Also how dare Criswell college have improper representations of their doctrinal statements on their website!!!! ; )
I have two questions that I have often wondered:
1.)Are Criswell professors required to hold to a Premillenial position.
2.)Why make this a hill to divide on? That is, this doesn’t seem to have as far reaching consequences as other doctrines included in the BFM 2000.
Good to see you defending premillennialism Denny. You would make your DTS mentors proud.
Dear Mark (in #5),
1. Yes. Criswell professors are required to affirm the doctrinal statement, which is explicitly premillenial.
2. I don’t know why premillenialism was included in the doctrinal statement. I know W. A. Criswell was premillenial, but beyond that I couldn’t give you the whole history of it.
Thanks for this posting. His lectures at SWBTS on the testimony of the eyewitnesses went well. I was there.
We got the website fixed. http://www.criswell.edu/news–information/about-us/beliefs/
You can read about the history of the doctrinal statement at the link above.
Criswell got a podcast!
I’m a little confused. Are you premill/pretrib, premill/posttrib, or amil? Just wondering…
When can we expect your book on the Rapture? Hope all is well.
You have seen my rapture files!
So what is the heart of premil Denny? Basically you believe that Christ will reign for a literal 1000 years that will be peaceful and bliss and then Satan will be let loose and make war against the saints and there will be a final battle and Satan will be defeated and all he and his posse thrown into the lake of fire and then the new heavens and earth will be created and we will get our new bodies? Is that correct?
I like the new audio page for Criswell College. I know this is off-topic but I was hoping to see Dr Jeffress and Dr Merritt at this time.
Denny, you said in #12 you were anti trib. what do you mean by that?
Anti-Trib = Against the Tribulation
Meaning, I don’t want to be around for that!
Thanks for clearing that up. I thought you meant you didn’t know it was gonna happen.
Would a prof at Criswell be duty bound to quit his position before objectively considering Rev. 20?
Would a prof be able to submit his reading to the authority of the text without coordinating/subordinating his reading to the doctrinal statement even though he is employed by Criswell?
curious as to how you see it,
What happened to the audio? I can’t seem to access it? Thanks