PMT 2013-023 by Sam Hughey
“There used to be a group called ‘postmillennialists.’ They believed that the Christians would root out the evil in the world, abolish godless rulers, and convert the world through ever increasing evangelism until they brought about the Kingdom of God on earth through their own efforts. Then after 1000 years of the institutional church reigning on earth with peace, equality, and righteousness, Christ would return and time would end. These people rejected much of the Scripture as being literal and believed in the inherent goodness of man. World War I greatly disheartened this group and World War II virtually wiped out this viewpoint. No self-respecting scholar who looks at the world conditions and the accelerating decline of Christian influence today is a ‘postmillennialist.” — The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey.
There can hardly be a more dishonest and distorted description of Postmillennialism. This shouldn’t really surprise us, since, over the years, many have learned that Lindsey is to Theology what the “National Enquirer” is to journalism: don’t be too concerned with truth, just make it sensational so it will sell.
The facts are that:
• PT (Postmillennial Theology) does not teach that Christians will root out evil in the world. It does teach that obedience to God’s Law will eventually be the norm in most of the world. However, there will still be tares in the world until the end.
• PT does not teach that Christians will abolish godless rulers. It does teach that as the influence of Christianity grows, godless rulers will be hindered in carrying out their wicked plans.
Helpful book introducing and defining postmillennialism:
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. Postmillennialism Made Easy
• PT does not teach that Christians will convert the world. In fact, it is doubtful that any Postie has taught that Christians would or could convert a single person. PT does teach that God will send a spirit of repentance and revival to the world on a scale never seen before.
• PT does not teach that Christians will bring about the Kingdom of God on earth through their own efforts. It does teach that Jesus Christ our King will triumph over His enemies by the Power of His Word and His Spirit before coming to judge the world.
• PT does not teach that the millennium will last exactly 1000 years. It teaches that it will last for a long, but indefinite period of time.
• PT does not teach anything about “equality” in the Kingdom. Perhaps Lindsey was thinking of Socialism. Anyway, this is a typical Lindsey misrepresentation.
The one statement that is correct is that PT does teach that Christ will return after the millennium. Given the name of the position, it was kind of hard for Lindsey to get this wrong.
PT does not “reject much of the Scripture as being literal.” It does teach that some parts of Scripture are figurative, allegorical, or typical, as does every other eschatalogical position.
PT does not believe in the inherent goodness of man. It is hard to believe that this isn’t an outright lie by Lindsey. Almost every Postmill theologian is a Calvinist who believes in the total depravity of man.
The effect of the great wars on PT is impossible to quantify and totally irrelevant anyway. Still, the statement is clearly false since there were several writers defending PT in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, e.g., Russell Cecil, David Clark, O.T. Allis, J.M. Kik, Allan Ford, Roderick Campbell, and Loraine Boettner, to name a few.
The last sentence is rather revealing. It supports something this writer began suspecting many years ago: that Premillennialism is founded primarily on looking “at the world conditions” rather than sound scriptural exegesis. Virtually every Premillennialist Charles has talked to has placed a great deal of emphasis on the “failure” of the Church in past history. The argument goes something like: “historically, the Church has failed in every nation to remain permanently influential, therefore it will never do so.” The argument is, of course, non sequitur since it, in effect, denies supernaturalism. It shouldn’t be surprising that the increasing popularity of Premillennialism has paralleled the decline of commitment to supernaturalism and the absolute Sovereignty of God.
Helpful discussion comparing dispensationalism and postmillennialism.
Thomas D. Ice and Kenneth Gentry radio interview:
Dispensationalism or Postmillennialism?