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Apocalypticism
Millennialism
Eschatology
The Believers Church
The Thirteenth Believers ChurchConference
Organization and Contents
Acknowledgements
Notes

Introduction

Loren L. Johns


The wordsin the title of this book are long, difficult to pronounce, and somewhatintimidating. Apocalypticism. Millennialism. Eschatology. Believerschurch. What do they all mean and how does this book approach theseissues?

Apocalypticism

Apocalypticism is one of themore crucial words to clarify, since different communities use it in verydifferent ways. For many readers, apocalypse carries the popularsense of a violent, fearful, and catastrophic end. Large-scale death, violence,and fright seem somehow inherent in the concept.
Biblical scholars do not use the wordin this way. In recent years, they have taken care to distinguish betweenapocalypse as a genre, a certain type of literature, and apocalypticism,which can characterize communities or theological traditions regardlessof whether they have produced actual “apocalypses.” [1]
Apocalypticism emphasizes the sovereigntyof a transcendent God who intervenes in history in dramatic ways. Contraryto popular opinion, most of the apocalyptic visions in second temple Judaismwere concerned with ethics, with a responsible vision of humanity’s relationshipwith God and neighbor. “Apocalypticism” characterized several of the diversetheological expressions of second temple Judaism in the first century CE.The Christian church emerged as one of several apocalyptic communitieswithin second temple Judaism. [2]Another example would be the Dead Sea Scrolls community, which was an “apocalyptic”community that did not produce “apocalypses.”
Rabbinic Judaism eventually suppressedapocalypticism within its ranks, although it reemerged in various formsof Jewish mysticism of the Middle Ages. [3]This suppression came about in part because apocalypticism helped to inspirethe disastrous first and second Jewish revolts against Rome in 66–74 CEand 132–135 CE, and in part becauseChristians had appropriated the theological perspective represented byapocalypticism. The form of Judaism that was latter called “Rabbinic Judaism”was just emerging in the context of the growing need to define itself overagainst Christianity.
Recent advances in biblical studiesunderscore the need to take a fresh look at both the canonical and extracanonicalapocalypses, to study them on their own terms, apart from the misguidedand misleading associations suggested by the popular understanding of apocalypse.Biblical scholars treat apocalypse as a
genre of revelatory literature witha narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldlybeing to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which isboth temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatialinsofar as it involves another, supernatural world. [4]
Those associations should be set asidelong enough to take the particular apocalypses seriously in their own right.When we read the book of Revelation, we should be willing to set asideour own assumptions—for instance, that it speaks about when, or at leasthow, the world will end—long enough to hear its words within its own historicalcontext.
Some post­modern interpretersof “apocalypse” have taken a small step in this direction. In Arguingthe Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric, Stephen D. O’Learyseeks to uncover the internal logic or rules of apocalyptic or millennialrhetoric—how it is that apocalyptic discourse works or communicates. [5]O’Leary’s book is helpful in placing apocalyptic rhetoric itself in thelimelight. Nevertheless, as a biblical scholar, I would call for sensitivityto the possibility that apocalyptic rhetoric in the history of the Christianchurch differs significantly from the rhetoric of the canonical apocalypticliterature within the historical contexts of its original readers. We shouldat least be open to the possibility that the history of the interpretation of apocalyptic literature is marked by several interpretive missteps already in the early church. As a result, comparative studies of medieval and modern apocalyptic rhetoric may produce a better understanding of the culturalhistory of the church than of the Bible itself—a useful but limited advance.
Thus, the word apocalypticismpoints to both a category of literature that emerged in second temple Judaismand to a way of thought witnessed by that literature. As such, it is botha literary term and a historical term that points primarily to the thirdcentury BCE through the end ofsecond temple Judaism, and into the second century CEwithin early Christianity.

Millennialism

The word millennialism comesfrom millennium, which means one thousand years. As a religiousterm, it derives from Revelation 20, which is the only place in the Biblethat speaks of a 1,000-year reign of Christ. [6]Millennialism refers to a type of Christianity in which Christ’s thousand-year reign plays a prominent role. Millennialism and millenarianism are synonymous. Both are based on the Latin word for thousand, while their synonym, chiliasm, is based on the Greek word for thousand.
Millennialism is both a historicaland theological term. The word is often used to categorize a certain typeof Christianity. In his essay, Ferguson chronicles the rise of three typesof millennialism in the Middle Ages: premillennialism, amillennialism,and postmillennialism. [7]The names indicate the relationship of the return of Christ to the millennium.Millennialism is often associated with Montanism, a second-century formof Christianity that emphasized prophecy and the presence and power of the Spirit within the church. [8]However, in his essay in this volume, Everett Ferguson warns that evidencefor millennialism among the Montanists is “slender and late.”
Premillennialism refers tothe view that Christ’s second coming will precede a literal, 1,000-yearreign of Christ on the earth. Amillennialism is the view that Christwill return without a millennium because the 1,000-year reign of Christmentioned in Revelation 20 is symbolic and should not be confused witha literal or exact period of time on earth. Post­millennialismis the view that the period of the church is itself the 1,000-year reignof Christ, after which will come the second coming of Christ. Postmillennialismis often associated with optimistic views of human progress and was mostpopular in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, when optimism in the industrialrevolution and in the spread of the gospel had not yet been checked bytwo world wars. One does not often encounter postmillennialism among thetheological options today.
Premillennialism itself is of twotypes: historic premillennialism and dispensational premillennialism. Manytheologians and scholars in the church over the centuries have held toa form of premillennialism that did not reflect the theological assumptionsand claims of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), a member of the Plymouth Brethren,one of the believers churches, and the founder of dispensationalism. Darbyheld that the second coming of Christ would precede the literal one-thousand-yearreign of Christ on the earth, making him a premillennialist. However, Darbyexplained that belief as part of a system of theology known as dispensationalism,which taught that history could be divided up into distinct periods, ordispensations, and that God’s promises and means of grace differed in eachof these dispensations. Thus, for instance, the promises of God to “Israel”are not fulfilled in the church, which he treated as a kind of parenthesisin God’s salvation of humanity. Rather, God’s promises to Israel awaitan eschatological fulfillment to be enjoyed in the coming millennium bythe Jewish people, or “Israel according to the flesh,” to use Paul’s short­hand expression in Ro­mans 9:3, 5, 8.
Darby’s brand of premillennial dispensationalismwas popularized by C. I. Scofield in the Scofield Reference Bible, whichwas the first reference work to apply a dispensational hermeneutic systematicallyto the entire Bible when it appeared in 1909. It has exerted enormous influenceon the manner in which many North American Evangelicals, including manyMennonites and others in the believers church tradition, have read theBible.
Another powerful leader influencedby Darby was James Brookes, who helped to establish a series of “Bibleprophecy” conferences at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, in the 1870s. Amongthe young Evangelicals influenced by the Niagara Bible Conferences wasa young man from Millersville, Pennsylvania, by the name of A. D. Wenger.Wenger was eager to bring these teachings to the attention of the Mennonitesin the eastern United States. He presented a series of messages on “unfulfilledprophecies” at a Bible conference held at the Stahl Mennonite meetinghousenear Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from December 27, 1897, to January 7, 1898.In his notes on Wenger’s address at this conference, John S. Coffman commented,“The manner in which this [theme of unfulfilled prophecies] was treatedwas somewhat new, and is by no means the generally accepted view of theMennonite people.” [9]
The history of dispensationalism’sinfluence on the believers church tradition has yet to be told fully. Therole of dispensationalism in the founding of Grace Bible Institute in Omaha,Nebraska, is one part of this story. [10]Within the (old) Mennonite Church, eschatology has remained a controversial topic in many areas, even though the 1952 conference on this topic heldat Goshen College [11]and the publication, The Alpha and the Omega, by Paul Erb, in 1955, [12]tended to quiet the controversy some.
A major feature in the eschatologyof premillennial dispensationalists is the “Great Tribulation,” a seven-yearperiod of terrible suffering just prior to the thousand-year reign of Christon earth. The concept is based on Daniel’s enigmatic use of the words “seven”and “time, times, and half a time” (7:25; 9:25; 12:7), [13]which is then reapplied in the Apocalypse of John (Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14;13:5). Premillennial dispensationalists mix and match metaphors from Daniel, Revelation, Ezekiel, and elsewhere to construct a tight eschatologicalsystem that is not supported by any one biblical book alone. The majorityof premillennial dispensationalists hold that Jesus will return and “rapture”Christians before this Tribulation (the pretribulation premillennialdispensationalists), some that the rapture will occur in the middleof the seven-year period (the midtribulation premillennial dispensationalists),while others believe that Christ will come at the end of the Tribulation(the post-tribulation premillennial dispensationalists). At stake in thisdebate is whether God is seen as one who preserves the saints throughtribulation and suffering or rescues them from it.
Millennialism is thus a wordthat reflects certain understandings of the manner in which God’s Reignwill be realized at the end of time. It speaks primarily in the contextof the history of the Christian church and is probably more characteristicof the believers church tradition than it is of mainline, establishmentariantraditions. A sense of eschatological urgency is probably more characteristicof the believers church traditions than it is of mainline denominationsor Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, some of the theological traditionswithin the believers church wish also to distance themselves from the doctrineof God, Christology, and ethics of violence inherent in many versions ofpremillennial dispensationalism. Thus, while eschatology plays a prominentrole in the believers church traditions, there is serious difference ofopinion about whether the ethical and theological understandings of powerand violence that correspond to the various eschatological visions differfrom or are similar to those of the established church. As such, it wouldseem unwarranted to speak of “the” believers church understanding of eschatology.

Eschatology

The word eschatology refersto the study of “last things.” It is based on the Greek adjective eschatos,meaning “last.” This word has its primary place within the realm of constructivetheology. While theology builds on biblical exegesis and pays close attentionto the history of Christian thought, it is in the realm of the systematicexposition of doctrine that eschatology has its rightful place. It alsois a common term in the study of the major prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Eschatology is sometimes understoodnarrowly as the doctrine of the sequence of events that will surround thesecond coming of Christ. Within such a framework, the “pre-tribs,” “mid-tribs,”and “post-tribs” understand themselves to be debating the heart of eschatology.However, eschatology in the broader sense has to do with what God is doingin the world and how. It refers to how the revelation of God’s victorytransforms the present in a partial realization of God’s reign by enablingan ethic of nonviolence. Jesus’ announcement of the nearness of God’s reignin Mark 1:14-15 and Paul’s description of life transformed in the Spiritin Romans 8 or 13:11-14 are as much eschatological texts as is 1 Thessalonians4:13-18. In this broader sense, then, eschatology colors all of theology,or one’s approach to the whole task of constructive Christian theology. [14]

Believers Church

The phrase believers church,coined by Max Weber, refers to those who have distanced themselves fromstate-sponsored churches and who have emphasized regeneration and voluntarymembership through believers (i.e., adult) baptism. Though believerschurch is generally coterminous with free church , there areproblems with the latter term. A key monograph on the meaning of the conceptand the history of the believers church is the book, The Believers’Church, by Donald F. Durnbaugh. [15]
The “first” [16]believers church conference was convened June 26–30, 1967, at SouthernBaptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. John Howard Yoder playeda role in developing this conference through his unpublished “Prospectusfor a Conference on the Concept of the Believers’ Church” (May 1966). Thepapers from the conference itself appeared under the title, The Conceptof the Believers’ Church: Addresses from the 1967 Louisville Conference,ed. James Leo Garrett, Jr. (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1969).
The second believers church conferencewas held June 29–July 2, 1970, at the Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago,Illinois. The theme was, “Is There a Christian Style of Life for Our Age?”The papers appeared in a special issue of Chicago Theological Register60 (September 1970): 1–59. A third believers church conference convenedMay 26–29, 1972, at the Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Laurelville,Pennsylvania, with the theme, “The Believers’ Church: A Conference forLaity.” The papers were not published.
On June 5–8, 1975, Pepperdine Universityin Malibu, Cal., hosted the fourth believers church conference, “Restitution,Dissent, and Renewal: A Conference on the Concept of the Believers’ Church.”The papers were published in the Journal of the American Academy ofReligion 44 (March 1976): 3–113. On July 15–17, 1975, a special conference pursuing believers church themes was held at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. It was entitled, “Conference on Anabaptists, 1525–1975: The Truth Will Make You Free.” The papers were not published.
The Baptist Federation of Canada andthe Mennonite Central Committee of Winnipeg, Manitoba, cooperated in hostingthe fifth believers church conference on May 15–18, 1978. It was calleda “Study Conference on the Believers’ Church in Canada.” The papers werepublished in The Believers’ Church in Canada: Addresses and Papers fromthe Study Conference in Winnipeg, May 1978, ed. Jarold K. Zeman andWalter Klaassen (Waterloo, Ont.: Baptist Federation of Canada and MennoniteCentral Committee [Canada], 1979); and in The Church of Tomorrow: TheBelievers’ Church, ed. Philip Collins (Toronto: Baptist Federationof Canada, 1989), a study guide.
Bluffton College of Bluffton, Ohio,hosted the sixth believers church conference on October 23–25, 1980, withthe theme, “Is There a Believers’ Church Christology?” J. Denny Weaverreported on the conference in his article, “A Believers’ Church Christology,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 57 (April 1983): 112–31, in which Weaverrefers to the places of publication of other conference papers. John HowardYoder’s address was published as “‘But We Do See Jesus’: The Particularityof Incarnation and the Universality of the Good,” in Foundations ofEthics, vol. 4, ed. LeRoy S. Rouner (Notre Dame, Ind.: University ofNotre Dame, 1983), 57–75, and in The Priestly Kingdom (Notre Dame,Ind.: University of Notre Dame, 1983), 46–62. Vernard Eller’s address waspublished as a two-part article entitled, “Which Eschatology for WhichChrist?” in Theological Students Fellowship Bulletin in September/Octoberand November/December 1981. Rosemary Radford Ruether’s paper appears asa chapter in her book, To Change the World: Christology and CulturalCriticism (New York: Crossroad, 1981), 7–18. Paul M. Bassett’s addressappeared as “The Interplay of Christology and Ecclesiology in the Theologyof the Holiness Movement,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 16 (1981):79–94. A version of Clark Pinnock’s paper appeared in Christianity Today (Dec. 12, 1980): 24–27.
On June 5–8, 1984, the Anderson Schoolof Theology in Anderson, Indiana, hosted the seventh believers church conference,on “Believer’s Baptism and the Meaning of Church Membership: Concepts andPractices in an Ecumenical Context.” The papers were published in Baptismand Church: A Believers’ Church Vision, ed. Merle D. Strege (GrandRapids: Sagamore Books, 1986). Bethany Theological Seminary, then at OakBrook, Illinois, hosted the eighth believers church conference on September2–5, 1987. The theme was “The Ministry of All Believers.” The papers appearedin Servants of the Word: Ministry in the Believers Churches, ed.David B. Eller (Elgin, Ill.: Brethren Press, 1990).
On March 30–April 1, 1989, the SouthwesternBaptist Theological Seminary of Fort Worth, Texas, sponsored the ninthbelievers church conference, on “Balthasar Hubmaier and His Thought.” Severalpapers were published in a special issue of the Mennonite QuarterlyReview 65 (January 1991): 5–53. Goshen College of Goshen, Indiana,hosted the tenth believers church conference on May 20–23, 1992, underthe title, “The Rule of Christ (Matthew 18:15-20): A Conference on ChurchDisci­pline and the Authority of the Church in the Series on the Conceptof the Believers Church.” Several papers from this conference were publishedin Brethren Life and Thought 38 (Spring 1993): 67–107.
On June 1–4, 1994, Ashland TheologicalSeminary of Ashland, Ohio, hosted “The Meaning and Practice of the Lord’sSupper in the Believers Church Tradition,” the eleventh believers churchconference. The papers from this conference were published inThe Lord’sSupper: Believers Church Perspectives, ed. Dale R. Stoffer (Scottdale,Pa.: Herald Press, 1997). McMaster Divinity School of Hamilton, Ontario,hosted the twelfth believers church conference on October 17–18, 1996.It was entitled, “The Voluntary Church.” The papers were published in TheBelievers Church: A Voluntary Church, ed. William H. Brackney (Kitchener,Ont.: Pandora Press, 1998).

The Thirteenth Believers Church Conference(at Bluffton College)

On August 8–10, 1999, Bluffton Collegeof Bluffton, Ohio, hosted the thirteenth believers church conference, on“Apocalypticism and Millennialism: Shaping a Believers Church Eschatologyfor the 21st Cen­tury.” The addresses at this conference appear inthis book.
Given the necessarily interrelatedaspects of apocalypticism, millennialism, and eschatology, such a conferencerequired a broad, interdisciplinary approach. The biblical, historical,and theological questions at stake here are broad and significant. Thepresent volume therefore includes biblical studies, theological and historicalstudies, cultural and rhetorical studies, and pastoral and practical studieson the issue. It admittedly did not cover enough. For instance, even inthe biblical field we might well have included a study of the most importantapocalyptic writer in the New Testament, the apostle Paul. And cultural studies could clearly have been pursued further. But time and space considerations created difficult limitations within which to work.
Nevertheless, the current collectionof essays should serve to give a sense of the current state of apocalypticismand millennialism in the believers church tradition. It should also serveto stake out some of the more significant issues requiring further explorationin the years ahead.

Organization andContents

The essays in this book have beengrouped into three broad and interrelated categories. Part One is “BiblicalPerspectives.” James Brenneman begins with an analysis of human responsibilityin the fulfillment of prophecy and David Valeta follows up with a satirical-rhetoricalanalysis of Daniel. James VanderKam, one of the two keynote speakers forthe conference, introduces the theological implications of the legacy ofJewish apocalyptic literature within second temple Judaism. After a responseby John Kampen, William Klassen tackles the tricky problem of what sortof eschatology the historical Jesus embraced. Dorothy Jean Weaver respondsto his paper. Finally, J. Denny Weaver looks at the role of time indicatorsin Revelation, while John Yeatts explores the impact of that book in thehistory of Anabaptism.
Part Two consists of “Historical andTheological Perspectives.” Everett Ferguson leads off with a revisionisttreatment of the historical evidence for “millennialism” within the medievalchurch. Lois Barrett tackles millennialism within the Anabaptist movement,while Rachel Stahle explores the eschatology of Jonathan Edwards. KevinGilbert then pursues the role of eschatology in the history of the Stone-Campbelltradition.
At this point we have the case studiesof three colorful people in the nineteenth-century believers church. ScottHolland explores Harriet Livermore, an early nineteenth-century prophetto the Dunkers. Gregory Hartzler-Miller presents the story of Jonas Stutzmann,“the Amish man who wore all white and built a chair for Jesus.” And DallasWiebe revisits Claas Epp, the Mennonite farmer who led hundreds of Mennonitesin a trek into Central Asia to prepare for Christ’s return.
Paul Boyer, the other keynote speakerat the conference, takes a closer look at the recent history of millennialismin the United States. C. Norman Kraus responds to Boyer. Then William V.Trollinger, Jr., examines how Darbyism entered the believers church traditionin a case study of the Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. DonaldDurnbaugh responds to Trollinger. Tom Finger brings the section to a closewith a dialogue with William McClendon on the role of eschatology withinconstructive or systematic theology today.
Part Three of this book explores “ContemporaryIssues and Pastoral Perspectives.” Walter Sawatsky looks at the role ofeschatology in recent ecumenical discussions. Susan Biesecker-Mast exploresthe constructions of reality in current commerce and discourse on the Y2K“problem.” Robert Clouse then examines Hal Lindsey, the prolific authorof premillennial dispensational books, while Daniel Hertzler looks at the“Left Behind” series of novels. Loren Johns then explores the challengesand opportunities faced by pastors at the dawn of a new millennium, whileRon Guengerich responds. John Dey concludes the collection with practicalsuggestions on how pastors in the believers church tradition might tacklethese issues constructively on the congregational level.

Acknowledgements

Neither the conference itself northe present volume could have succeeded without the thoughtful and insightfulplanning of the committee whose task it was to design the conference andto decide which of the many wonderful paper proposals we could includeand which we had to pass up. This committee consisted of Gerald Biesecker-Mast,assistant professor of communication at Bluffton College, Bluffton, Ohio;Susan Biesecker-Mast, assistant professor of communication at Bluffton;John Dey, pastor of Grace Mennonite Church, Pandora, Ohio; Marlin Jeschke,professor emeritus of Bible and religion at Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana;John Kampen, vice president of academic affairs at Bluffton; Loren L. Johns,associate professor of religion at Bluffton; and J. Denny Weaver, professorof religion at Bluffton. Marlin Jeschke was the representative assignedto the planning committee by the informal “continuation committee” thathelps to encourage and coordinate the ongoing tradition of believers churchconferences in North America.
One hundred twenty-five registrantsfrom fourteen of the United States as well as Canada and England participatedin the “Apocalypticism and Millennialism Con­ference.” Many volunteersfrom the Bluffton area as well as professional staff from the college—fromthe conference crew to the communications department, from food serviceto the airport shuttle drivers—cooperated to make the conference a reality.Yvonne Wilkerson, my student assistant, deserves special recognition forthe many nitty-gritty details to which she attended in order to make theconference go as smoothly as possible for the participants.
Grateful appreciation also goes tothe Center for Anabaptist and Baptist Studies (CABS) in Waterloo and Hamilton,Ontario, for including this volume as the second in its series on Studiesin the Believers Church Tradition. Supported by Conrad Grebel College inWaterloo, Ontario, and McMaster Divinity School in Hamilton, Ontario, CABShas undertaken an important initiative not only in supporting the publicationof papers from the believers church conferences, but also in sponsoringother studies of the theological legacy of the believers church tradition.Appreciation also goes to the administration of Bluffton College, whichcommitted funds to both the conference and this publication at a time whenthere was significant question about whether the pursuit was feasible.
Finally, special appreciation goesto the Yoder Foundation, which graciously provided a grant to underwritethe conference and this publication in service to the ongoing constructivetask of the believers church conference tradition, a special passion ofthe late John H. Yoder.

Notes

[1]For a more careful treatment of apocalypse as a genre, see James VanderKam’s essay in this volume. The classic treatment of Jewish apocalyptic literature, noted for its careful attention to genre criticism, is John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature ,rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998).
[2]“Second temple Judaism” refers to the period of time in which the sec­ond(i.e., Zerubbabel’s) temple stood—approximately 515 BCEto 70 CE. While this is essentiallya chronological term, it also characterizes the broadly diverse and creativeJudaism in which Jesus himself grew up and ministered and which gave wayto two separate but related religious traditions: Christianity and rabbinicJudaism.
[3]See Michael Mach, “Apocalypticism and Mysticism,” The Origins of Apocalypticismin Judaism and Christianity, Vol. 1 of the Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism,ed. John J. Collins (New York: Continuum, 1998); and Moshe Idel, “JewishApocalypticism: 670–1670,” Apocalypticism in Western History and Culture,Vol. 2 of the Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, ed. Bernard McGinn(New York: Continuum, 1998).
[4]John J. Collins, “Introduction: Towards the Morphology of a Genre,” Apocalypse:The Morphology of a Genre (Semeia 14, 1979): 9.
[5]Other books in a similar vein include Postmodern Apocalypse: Theory and Cultural Practice at the End, ed. Richard Dellamora (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995) and Catherine Keller’s Apocalypse Now and Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996).
[6]The concept in Revelation 20 may, however, be dependent upon Psalm 90:4,which says, “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday whenit is past, or like a watch in the night.”
[7]For accessible treatments of the varieties of millennial views within Christianitytoday, see The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, ed. RobertG. Clouse (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1977), and more recently,Stanley J. Grenz, The Millennial Maze: Sorting Out Evangelical Options(Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992).
[8]See, e.g., “Millenarianism” in The Oxford Dictionary of the ChristianChurch, 2d ed., ed. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (1957; reprinted,Oxford: Ox­ford University Press, 1990), 916.
[9]John S. Coffman, Outlines and Notes Used at the Bible Conference Heldat Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from Dec. 27, 1897 to Jan. 7, 1898 (Elkhart, Ind.: Mennonite Publishing Co., 1898), 4.
[10]See the essay by William V. Trollinger, Jr., in this volume.
[11]The papers from this conference were published in Prophecy Conference: Report of Conference Held at Elkhart, Indiana, April 3–5, 1952 (Scottdale,Pa.: Mennonite Publishing House, 1953).
[12]Paul Erb, The Alpha and the Omega: A Restatement of the Christian Hopein Christ’s Coming (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1955).
[13]See the essay by James VanderKam in this collection for more on the meaningand evolution of this enigmatic designation.
[14]See, for example, Tom Finger, Christian Theology: An Eschatological Approach, 2 vols. (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1985, 1989) and hisessay in this volume.
[15]Originally published by Macmillan in 1968, it was reprinted by Herald Press(Scottdale, Pa.) in 1985. For a fuller account of the origin and history of these conferences, see “Afterword: The Believers Church Conferences,” by Donald F. Durnbaugh, in The Believers Church: A Voluntary Church ,ed. William H. Brackney, Studies in the Believers Church Tradition, vol. 1 (Kitchener, Ont.: Pandora Press, 1998), 217–27, esp. the bibliography of surveys listed on 227.
[16]See several qualifications to the word first in Durnbaugh, “Afterword,”noted above.


Copyright © 2000 by Pandora Press, 51 Pandora  Ave N, Kitchener, Ontario N2H 3C1, Canada. Posted by permission of Pandora  Press. All rights reserved. No further copies or dissemination of  this material may be made without express written consent of the publisher.