Last year I had an article published in Bibliotheca Sacra critiquing Charles Hill’s book Regnum Caelorum. Several years ago, I noticed that many amillennial writers were citing this book has having disproved the consensus that the earliest fathers held to a premillennial viewpoint. I have the greatest respect for Hill’s scholarship, so I was a bit daunted to undertake a critique of it (and remained open to the possibility that he was correct on the historical question). But the more I tracked down the primary sources he cited, particularly those from Irenaeus, the more convinced I was that his argument had a serious weakness.
Brian C. Collins, “Were the Fathers Amillennial? An Evaluation of Charles Hill’s Regnum Caelorum,” Bibliotheca Sacra 177 (April-June 2020): 207-20.
Charles Hill’s Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity seeks to reverse the one-time consensus that the earliest church fathers held to a millennial, rather than an amillennial, viewpoint. At the heart of Hill’s argument is the claim that early millennialism and amillennialism were part of systems of eschatology in which fathers who held to the millennial position also held to a subterranean intermediate state whereas fathers who held to the amillennial position also held to a heavenly intermediate state. From this assertion Hill claims that a number of early fathers, along with the New Testament writers, held the amillennial position. This study demonstrates the linkage of millennial views and views of the intermediate state to be faulty on the grounds that the early Irenaeus held to both a heavenly intermediate state and to a millennium.
Craig Blaising, whose scholarship I also greatly respect, also has an article in this issue of BibSac critiquing Hill’s Regnum Caelorum.