A conference at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School suggests a close connection.

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School sits just off the Illinois Tristate Tollway, a spoke in a huge metropolitan wheel that leads north from the hub of Chicago. It was a fitting location for a conference concerned about Christianity’s global witness.

Members of Theological Students for Frontier Mission (TSFM) spent a weekend last month discussing premillennialism and amillennialism. At issue was which view of the millennium (Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth) provides the best motivation for spreading the Christian witness.

Richard Lovelace and Michael Pocock were the keynote speakers. Pocock, candidate secretary of The Evangelical Alliance Mission, spoke from a premillennial perspective. Lovelace, professor of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, defended the amillennial view.

Lovelace said renewal movements result in a revival of concern for missions, Christian literature, Christian educational institutions, social reform, and social justice. He acknowledged that the early church was premillennial. But he stressed that most great missionary movements from the time of Constantine to the twentieth century were inspired by amillennial leaders, largely influenced by Augustine.

Augustine believed the thousand-year reign of Christ, mentioned three times in Revelation 20, could be understood either literally or symbolically. The Reformers, as well, were amillennial. But they were involved in too much political strife to emphasize missions very strongly.

Lovelace said the New Testament reflects a world in which Christians were a minority, and premillennialism seems most compatible with minority status. But prophets such as Isaiah think ...

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