Jnorm888, an Eastern Orthodox poster, has been making some dubious, undocumented claims about the history of premillennialism. He's argued that the apostles taught contradictory views of eschatology, that premillennialism came from John, whereas men like Paul and Mark taught a different eschatology. He's claimed that the canonicity of Revelation was rejected by most Christians for a while. And he's claimed that a sixth-century ecumenical council condemned premillennialism. When asked for documentation of such claims, he wrote:
"The fact that you want me to list my sources to back up everything I say about Church history only tells me that you don't read the primary sources of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers. And you probably haven't read too many church history books either. That is not my fault. No, you will have to do your own homework. I'm not gonna dig through my books for you." (source)
Here are some of his assertions, in his own words:
"only the christians from Ashia Minor were mostly PM [premillennial]. Ashia minor is where Saint John mostly lived and died, and so the Apostolic Tradition that came from his region mostly held on to 'Chilism'. Justin Martyre and some others who were from that region but moved to Rome later in life spread that teaching to other parts of Christiandom. The book of Revelations wasn't embraced by everyone. It was by those who knew John and lived in Ashia minor, but it wasn't embraced by a lot of christians outside of Ashia minor....PM was always givin a hard time by christians living outside of modern day Turkey and Syria....So is it [premillennialism] historic? Yes, but it was only limited to a certain region of christianity....Most christians rejected the book of Revelations, So most christians never had a pre-mill view to begin with. And when the early PMers started to spread to other regions, this is when you had arguments about such a view....the Apostolic tradition of Saint John (on this issue) was trumped by the Apostolic traditions of Mark, Andrew, Peter, and Paul....ancient PM was disliked by most christians in other regions...So at the end of the day, the onlything you can say about ancient christianity is: Some believed in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on planet earth. Most did not believe in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on planet earth." (sources here and here)
I've addressed some of the problems with Jnorm's claims elsewhere. See, for example, here and here.
The apostle John lived in Asia Minor, and he wrote Revelation to some of the churches there. But premillennialism's origin and prominence in that region don't imply some of the other conclusions Jnorm has reached. Premillennialism is found early in Asia Minor (Papias), but also is found early outside of Asia Minor (The Epistle Of Barnabas). Premillennialists like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus lived in multiple locations, so how does Jnorm know where they acquired their premillennialism, and how does he know that such men had the role he claims they had in spreading premillennialism? If premillennialism was opposed in other regions by people who had received a different eschatology from their own apostolic sources and a larger number of apostolic sources, then why would men like Justin and Irenaeus be able to spread premillennialism so successfully in those other regions? Why would people give up their own apostolic eschatology, supported by a larger number of apostolic sources, for another region's apostolic eschatology that came from only one apostolic source?
Here are some examples of ante-Nicene sources who advocated premillennialism while living outside of Asia Minor:
Pseudo-Barnabas (The Epistle Of Barnabas, 15)
Justin Martyr (Dialogue With Trypho, 80)
Irenaeus (Against Heresies, 5:28:3, 5:33:2-4)
Tertullian (Against Marcion, 3:24)
Hippolytus (On Daniel, 2:4)
Cyprian (section 2 in the preface and chapter 11 in Treatise 11, On the Exhortation to Martyrdom)
Nepos (Eusebius, Church History, 7:24)
Commodianus (Writings, 44)
Victorinus (On The Creation Of The World)
Lactantius (The Divine Institutes, 7:14)
Remember, Jnorm claims that premillennialism was always "given a hard time by Christians living outside of modern day Turkey and Syria".
Premillennialism became much less popular in later centuries, but it was widespread during the ante-Nicene era. The large majority of extant ante-Nicene sources who advocate the doctrine do so while living outside of Asia Minor. A smaller number of mainstream ante-Nicene sources opposed premillennialism, such as Origen and Dionysius of Alexandria, but not with the sort of argumentation we're getting from Jnorm. They didn't oppose one apostolic eschatology to another. Rather, Dionysius of Alexandria, for example, argued for a different interpretation of Revelation and other portions of scripture rather than arguing that one apostolic form of eschatology should be rejected in favor of another (Eusebius, Church History, 7:24-25).
Some ante-Nicene sources rejected the canonicity of Revelation, but acceptance of the book as scripture seems to have been the mainstream view in the earliest centuries:
"As early as the middle of the second century, Revelation was ascribed to John, 'one of the apostles of Christ' (Justin, Dial. 81). Other second-century works and writers make the same claim: a lost commentary on Revelation by Melito, bishop of Sardis (c. A.D. 165; see Eusebius, H.E. 4.26.2); Irenaeus (c. 180; Adv. Haer. 3.11.1, 4.20.11, 4.35.2); and the Muratorian Canon (late second century). Whether Papias, an even earlier witness than these (d.c. 130), can be added to this list is disputed, but a good case can be made out that he both knew Revelation and attributed it to John. The evidence of these writers is particularly strong in that two of them (three, if Papias is included) could well be reporting firsthand evidence. Sardis, where Melito was bishop, was one of the churches addressed in Revelation (1:11; 3:1-6). Irenaeus was from Smyrna, also a church addressed in Revelation (1:11; 2:8-11), and claims to have heard Polycarp, who had talked with John the apostle himself. Papias knew John the apostle personally. The early tradition is confirmed by the third-century fathers Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Origen. Not only do these authors ascribe Revelation to John the apostle, they do so without any hint of there being a contrary claim. No New Testament book, concludes Gerhard Maier, has a stronger or earlier tradition about its authorship than does Revelation." (D.A. Carson, et al., An Introduction To The New Testament [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1992], p. 468)
Carson, Moo, and Morris are only mentioning a portion of the evidence here. Much more could be cited.
The tendency was to classify apostolic books as scripture, so acceptance of the apostolic status of Revelation tends to suggest acceptance of the book as scripture. I can document that tendency, and I can give examples of the citation of Revelation as scripture by such sources, if Jnorm wants to dispute the point.
We need to keep in mind the distinction between what was believed in one era of church history and what was believed in another era. Later opposition to premillennialism doesn't, by itself, lead to the conclusion that earlier affirmations of the doctrine were a minority position during that earlier period. Jnorm can't just cite later sources and assume that they represent what was mainstream in those regions of the world in earlier centuries. For example, we wouldn't conclude that if there isn't much belief in premillennialism in the area of Asia Minor today, then there must not have been much belief in the doctrine in that region in the second or third century either. Later sources can be relevant, but Jnorm will have to do more than just citing later sources.
What does Jnorm's behavior suggest about his Eastern Orthodoxy? Why does he so often fail to document claims that he ought to document, and why does he make so many false and misleading claims about church history?