PMT 2017-079 by Eric Metaxas & G. Shane Morris (Breakpoint)

It’s been a summer of rough news for America. Racism, riots, and political violence. Communities on the Gulf Coast continue wading through the devastation of hurricane Harvey, and now another storm is bearing down on Florida. We have plenty of reasons to be praying and doing all we can to alleviate suffering. There’s cause for grief about the news—but not for pessimism.

Writing at The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman suggests that despite a dragging civil war in Syria, heart-rending photos of drowned refugees, North Korea’s nuclear saber-rattling, disasters, terrorist attacks, and racial violence, the world is objectively better now than it’s ever been.

Hard to believe? Well, here are the facts: Swedish historian Mark Norberg breaks down global indicators of human flourishing into nine categories: food, sanitation, life expectancy, poverty, violence, the state of the environment, literacy, freedom, equality, and the conditions of childhood. And in nearly all of these categories, we’ve seen vast improvement in my lifetime.

Despite the fact that nine out of ten Americans say worldwide poverty is holding steady or worsening, the percentage of people on this planet who live on less than two dollars a day—what the United Nation’s defines as “extreme poverty”—has fallen below ten percent, which is the lowest it’s ever been.

The scourge of child mortality is also at a record low. Fifty percent fewer children under five die today than did thirty years ago.

Postmillennialism Made Easy

Postmillennialism Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)

Basic introduction to postmillennialism. Presents the essence of the postmillennial argument and answers the leading objections. And all in a succinct, introductory fashion.

See more study materials at:

Worldwide, 300,000 more people gain access to electricity every day. In 1900, global life expectancy was just 31 years. Today, it’s an impressive 71 years. And violent crime rates in the United States are the lowest they’ve been in half a century.

Nicholas Kristof wasn’t too far afield when he called 2016 “the best year in the history of humanity.” This year may see even more progress.

So why do these cheery pronouncements strike us as inaccurate—even outrageous? Why—according to a recent poll by YouGov—do a vanishingly small six percent of Americans think the world as a whole is becoming a better place?

Burkeman lays much of the blame on the press. Thanks to a 24-hour news cycle that actively seeks out and overplays the worst stories, our perception of the world is skewed. “We are not merely ignorant of the facts,” he writes. “We are actively convinced of depressing ‘facts’ that aren’t true.” And no wonder! It’s hard to sell papers and get Web traffic with good news. No one reports when a plane takes off. They only report when they crash.

But a great deal of the blame for our unjustifiably gloomy view of the world also falls on our shoulders. Quite simply, we often enjoy being angry about the state of the world, especially when it allows us to blame someone else. We are addicted to news-induced anger.

That’s why it’s so important—while acknowledging the desperate evil and suffering around us—to appreciate the good news, the progress, and the things we have to celebrate. After all, how can we truly comprehend what’s wrong with the world if we don’t recognize when something is going right?

Down But Not OutDown Out
by Wayne A. Mack

Wayne Mack brings biblical counsel to people suffering from worry or spiritual burnout—two major problems that knock us down. Other chapters treat “downers” such as self-pity, discontentment, discouragement, perplexity, and hopelessness.

See more study materials at:

War, famine, disease, and hatred should all remind us that God’s world, which He created and pronounced “very good,” is broken, and it’s our fault. But here’s the real comfort: It’s still—as the hymn says—our Father’s world. Let us therefore never forget that “though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the ruler yet.” . . . .

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  1. Charlie Dines October 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Quoting a Christian brother:
    The article dealt exclusively with material improvements in the world, e.g., health, child mortality, nutrition, etc. There is no doubt that the world is prospering as never before. I was referring to adherence to God’s law. What good will it do if a man gains the whole world (material possessions and health) and loses his soul? With respect to godliness the world has been declining for 400 years. Each half-century chronicles more and more rejection of God’s will. With respect to godlessness, the world has been increasing for 400 years. Now, sodomite marriages are both legal and promoted, abortion on demand is available everywhere without restriction so that hundreds of millions of babies have been slaughtered without repentance. The greatest bloodbath in the history of the world. Makes Herod look like a good man. Transgenderism, an abomination to God is promoted and celebrated. Things are not getting better by any stretch of the imagination. The only positive thing to be reported is that the gospel is going out more and there are more Christians as a percentage of the population than ever before, although still a substantial minority. Any success in the spread of the gospel is due to the work of the Holy Spirit. But postmillennialism teaches that the church with its influence will make the world better and better until it is so good that we look around and we have created the Millennium. Of course, just the opposite has been happening: the world has influenced the church so that the church now accepts the morals of the world.

  2. Kenneth Gentry October 2, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for reading and interacting. Material prosperity is an element in the postmillennial hope, but not the fundamental element. As you note, the fundamental reality for postmillennialism is belief in God and commitment to his word and law.

    However, postmillennialism does not claim that by the year 2017 the full conquest of the kingdom will have resulted. Nor does it say that each year of history will be another year of progress. Like in our own personal sanctification, there are ups and downs. We are in a tragic “down” now. But God often uses judgment to set up the conditions for revival.

    Postmillennialism cannot be disproved by current cultural decline, any more than the delay of Christ’s return proves he is not ever going to return. You can’t say that because the conditions of gospel prosperity do not prevail today, they never will. However, if at the end of time Christ returns and there has been no remarkable progress of the gospel, then at that time postmillennialism could be declared wrong.

    Furthermore, I would rather be living today, writing freely on this blog, worshiping God at a Bible-believing church, sending my children to Christian schools, and supporting worldwide mission efforts than to be thrown back into Nero’s lion’s den. There has been progress from the first century, even though there have been decline over the past several decades. But like Simeon sitting in the temple awaiting the consolation of Israel, the postmillennialist labors in faith aiming to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19) and believing that just as Christ was lifted up on the cross, he “will draw all men” to himself (John 12:32). We do so because “God sent his Son into the world not to condemn it, but that the world through him should be saved” (John 3:17). Therefore, we continue to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

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