JESUS AND GOD’S LAW (1)

PMW 2017-076 by Kenneth L. Gentry. Jr.

Postmillennialism is an optimistic eschatology. In its definition (as I give in my “Definition” page of this website), one expectation of postmillennialism is that “increasing gospel success will gradually produce a time in history prior to Christ’s return in which faith, righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail in the affairs of men and of nations.”

Contrary to some opponents of postmillennialism, it is essentially social-gospel liberalism. However, the postmillennial hope of righteousness and peace prevailing on the earth is a concrete expectation. Not just any sort of “righteousness” and peace will do. Postmillennialism expects God’s grace to change men so that they will live in terms of God’s Law. Continue reading

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GREAT COMMISSION AND CULTURAL MANDATE (2)

PMW 2018-075 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a two-part series looking into the relationship between the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate (Gen 1:26–28). Both mandates feed the postmillennial hope.

There are a few evangelicals who disassociate the Creation (or Cultural) Mandate from the Great Commission, which has also been called the New Creation (or Evangelistic) Mandate. This is an unfortunate mistake that detracts from the greatness of the Great Commission and a proper engagement of the Christian calling in the world. Nevertheless, the two mandates are intimately related. This may be seen from several considerations. Continue reading

GREAT COMMISSION AND CULTURAL MANDATE (1)

PMW 2018-074 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Great Commission is a key text for framing in the postmillennial hope. Postmillennialism believes in the victory of the gospel throughout the world. And the Great Commission shows that Christ expected that very thing.

In this first contribution to a two-part study, I will be examining the Great Commission in the light of the Cultural Mandate (Gen 1:26–28). Postmillennialism not only expects the gospel to win the souls of men, but also their very lives and labors.

The Christian faith is concerned with the material world, the here and now. Continue reading

MATTHEW 24:28 “EAGLES” OR “VULTURES”?

PMW 2018-073 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In the opening section of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24–25), Jesus deals initially and significantly with the approaching AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem by Roman imperial forces (vv. 4–34). We may easily surmise this from the local context. After all, the Discourse is introduced by Jesus’ prophesying the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2), then linking his prophecy to the temple locale (“the holy place,” v. 15), warning the local residents to flee from the area (Jerusalem is in Judea, v. 16), and informing them generally when it will occur (in “this generation,” v. 34). [1]

The Roman eagle

Matt. 24:28 is an interesting verse embedded in this context. But its frequent mistranslation dulls the cutting edge of Jesus’ warning about the Roman invasion. Continue reading

HOW THE ANCIENTS HEARD RESURRECTION

PMW 2018-072 by Brian Mattson (The Calvinist International)

Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart has written an essay on the Pauline terms “spirit,” (pneuma) “soul,” (psuche), and “flesh” (sarx), maintaining that modern readers are greatly (or perhaps completely) hindered in their understanding of them. He lays blame on a kind of “Protestant biblical scholarship” that is allegedly weighed down with all sorts of wrong-headed theological predispositions—presuppositions that preclude any genuine understanding of the “intellectual and spiritual environment of the apostolic church.” He is indicting an entire tradition of biblical interpretation, so his lone example (N.T. Wright) is but an incidental detail, a mere straw placeholder for what turns out to be a much more sweeping agenda. Continue reading

THE IDENTIFICATION OF BABYLON

PMW 2018-071 D. Ragan Ewing (Lucas Christian Academy)

Gentry note: This article was posted on Bible.org. The full article (of which the material below is but the Introduction) is four chapters long. Ewing is non-covenantal and somewhat dispensational. Yet he argues that the Babylonian harlot in Rev. 17 is an image of first-century Jerusalem. This is an excellent series in itself, but I am posting it to show that the preterist analysis of Revelation is having an influence in dispensational Baptist circles.

The Book of Revelation is perhaps the most notoriously cryptic work of literature ever composed. The history of the interpretation of this book leaves most students with more questions than answers. Commentators have come to little, if any, consensus on the interpretation of many key passages, and many of the best scholars of Christian history have simply thrown up their hands in bewilderment at the challenge of scaling its enigmatic heights.[1]

Thus, approaching the Apocalypse for analysis necessarily requires the possession of a couple of key items: one, an interpretive grid integrating one’s hermeneutics and general theological viewpoint, and two, a healthy dose of respectful reservation. Interpretation of Revelation and dogmatism do not go well together, despite the impression one might draw from the popular literature.

That said, it is the intent of this study to examine what is hopefully a sufficiently narrow issue in the interpretation of the Apocalypse: the identification of “Babylon,” the harlot of chapters seventeen and eighteen.[2] Continue reading

MATTHEW’S OUTLINE; JESUS’ IDENTITY

PMW 2018-070 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am currently working on a commentary on Matthew 21–25. In this commentary I will be focusing on the Olivet Discourse in its contextual setting. I will be demonstrating this fifth and final major discourse of Jesus (Matt. 5–7; 10; 13; 18; 24–25) not only prophesies the destruction of the temple and God’s judgment on Israel in AD 70, but also the Final Judgment upon all the nations at the end of history.

Jesus’ teaching in this section dramatically declares his universal lordship over both Israel (e.g., Matt. 24:2, 16, 34) and all men and nations (Matt. 25:31–46). Earlier (and uniquely!) in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus specifically limited his mission to Israel (Matt. 10:5–6; 15:24). But now as the narrative of his life unfolds to its climax, he expands his mission to “all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). Thus, in this section he will begin repeatedly emphasizing the inclusion of the Gentiles in his program (e.g., Matt. 21:43; 22:8–10; 24:14, 31; 31–46). Continue reading