PMW 2021-080 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As I note on my “Definition” page on this blogsite, postmillennialism confidently anticipates a time in earth history (continuous with the present) in which the very gospel already operating will win the victory throughout the earth, fulfilling the Great Commission. “The thing that distinguishes the biblical postmillennialist, then, from amillennialists and premillennialists is his belief that the Scripture teaches the success of the great commission in this age of the church” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Victory in Jesus, 74).
Thus, we hold that the overwhelming majority of men and nations will be Christianized, righteousness will abound, wars will cease, and prosperity and safety will flourish. “It will be marked by the universal reception of the true religion, and unlimited subjection to the sceptre of Christ.” “It shall be a time of universal peace.” “It will be characterised by great temporal prosperity” (David Brown, Christ’s Second Coming, 399, 401). This causes us to “look forward to a great ‘golden age’ of spiritual prosperity continuing for centuries, or even for millenniums, during which time Christianity shall be triumphant over all the earth” (Lorraine Boettner, The Millennium, 29).
Because of such optimism, we often hear the charge that postmillennialism is basically a liberal, social gospel approach to biblical prophecy. The postmillennialist must respond to the this specious charge. A practical way of doing this is asking the opponent to define what postmillennialism teaches. Oftentimes he cannot do it. So, you must define it for him.
In the process you should note that by definition postmillennialism cannot be liberal. Note what the word “postmillennial” itself means. Basically it means that Christ with Return post (after) the millennium. Now ask the objector: What liberal believes Christ will return at all? This charge has not been thought through at the most basic level of definition.
Thankfully, amillennialist Robert Strimple has accepted my argument that postmillennialism by definition cannot be equated with liberalism: “I express appreciation for Pastor Gentry’s attempt to establish his postmillennial eschatology on a biblical basis. Surely he has laid to rest the charge (too often heard in the past) that the kind of evangelical postmillennialism he advocates rests on liberal, humanist, evolutionist presuppositions.” See: Strimple in Bock, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Zondervan), p. 58.
One of our biggest challenges as postmillennialists is to educate Christians. The Christian needs to be challenged with the true definition of postmillennialism so that he can be given the biblical argument for this glorious hope. In a later blog article I will respond to the confused argument of dispensationalist Thomas D. Ice against postmillennialism He makes the astounding, simplistic, unthinking assertion:
“The greatest problem with postmillennialism is the fact that the Bible just does not teach it. Where is a specific passage that teaches the postmillennial concept? Not a passage that they think it their best, from which they attempt to develop a postmillennial theology. I am asking for a passage that teaches the idea of postmillennialism. It is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Lack of specific biblical support is fatal to postmillennialism for any Bible believing Christian.” (From the “Rapture Ready” website. Since the rapture has been expected for 2000 years, you would think this would be a very old site, but it is not.)
Unfortunately, the lawyer’s maxim holds true in the dispensationalist debate with postmillennialists: “If you can’t pound the facts, pound the table.” The dispensational naivete is such that by going around and saying the there is not single passage of Scripture that teaches postmillennialism one can persuade the simple. And sadly, the church today is full of simple people. As atheist Bertrand Russell once charged: “Christians would rather die than think. In fact, they do.”
A good place to start the education process is with a book designed for that very purpose: Postmillennialism Made Easy.
Postmillennialism Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)
Basic introduction to postmillennialism with response to leading objections.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Tagged: Defining postmillennialism, postmillennial liberalism
Hi Dr. Keneth Gentry.
Please, create studies on the beasts of Daniel.
I’m from Brazil, we do not have preterist comments on Daniel book and the foreign books are so expansive because of the import tax.
I have a few studies on Daniel on this blogsite. See https://postmillennialworldview.com/page/2/?s=daniel&submit=Search
Dr. Gentry, I agree with you in principle, and I believe if Christians could, for the most part, come out from under the dispensationalist view of the end times, earth could be Christianized. But what if man, in his stupidity, starts a nuclear war and destroys the planet and annihilates himself? I see the Great Commission as fulfilled in that when the Jews killed Stephen the church scattered from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria; then Paul took the gospel to the world, going to Rome and stood before Nero, himself – the belly of the beast. Thoughts?
But mankind’s destruction by nuclear war is not a fact. It is a fear. But the Scripture teaches contrary to that fear by offering the long-run postmillennial hope.
Yes, the beginning of the fulfillment of the Great Commission was a Stephen’s conversion. But that is not the whole fulfillment. It is an ongoing program that encompasses “all nations.”
Indeed, one can say the Great Commission is not complete because, according to Matthew 28:19, Jesus’ charge to us was to go and make disciples of all nations. The question then becomes, how far do you take that? One person per nation or all people of all nations? Mark 16:15 says to preach the gospel to all creation, but according to Colossians 1:6,23, one can say that has been fulfilled. Then there is Acts 1:8, but according to 8:1 and the apostles’ travels, one can say that was fulfilled. So I guess that depends on the point one is making. Cannot all be true? The caveat is, that does not mean we are to stop being witnesses, for we should do so as long as we live.
I understand mankind’s self-destruction is hypothetical, but it certainly is possible and appears to be the direction we are going. For all we know, the gains of the first few centuries after the resurrection may be the best there is. I do not think we know for sure, but I don’t wring my hands about it. I have discussions with people who believe they would be missing out if they adopted the preterist view. Instead, they’re waiting for the rapture. Even those in my apologetics group believe the Scriptures aren’t enough and are more interested in sound byte responses to various objections. It’s maddening that they don’t grasp the blessings they possess in Christ. Whatever happened to preach the Word, in season and out of season? We are out of season now, it seems but still, preach the Word. God needs to bring a revival here in America, or else we’re going by the wayside.
You have to compare Scripture with Scripture. Postmillennialism is not based on one verse or one passage (e.g., Matt. 28:19), but many Scriptures. And a good number of Scriptures speak of the massive influence of Christ over the world, rather than simply a few thousand in the first century. The downpayment for such, so to speak, is the representation of the world in principle in the first century (e.g., Col. 1:6, 23).