PMW 2023-018 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
People often note how postmillennialism claims to be optimistic and charges other millennial views to be pessimistic. Many even see very little difference between amillennialism and postmillennialism, which were originally deemed one eschatological position up until the last 1800s.
Of course, representatives of the three standard non-postmillennial schools (amillennialism, premillennialism, and dispensationalism) do not like being called “pessimistic.” And we must admit that all four millennial schools are Christian systems committed to the expectation of ultimate redemptive hope. They unite in believing that God will finally conquer sin and Satan and establish an eternal order of glorious perfection.
(Interestingly, a new theological system known as Full Preterism (aka Consistent Preterism or Covenant Preterism or Hyperpreterism) cannot be characterized by any millennial label. For the historic labels (whether “a,” “pre,” or “post”) all refer to the bodily return of Christ and its relation to the “millennium.” But this new theology does not believe in Christ’s future, bodily second coming. What is more, in most manifestations of this new religious view, the adherents do not even believe that history will ever end. And since they believe all prophecy in Scripture was fulfilled when Roman defeated Israel in the Jewish War of AD 70, they do not believe history will ever end and therefore that it will never be finally judged and removed from the universe. They believe God will endure a rebellious universe forever and ever. Thus, though popular with hundreds of people today and dozens of churches, this view is truly pessimistic in the long run.)
The Harrowing of Hell (by Jay Rogers)
This postmillennial book examines the power of the Gospel, not only to overcome all opposition, but to rise far above the powers of hell. The term “Harrowing of Hell” refers to idea that Christ descended into Hell, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
Nevertheless, the standard millennial views differ in how they understand the redemptive hope’s impact in history and before Christ returns. Despite their agreement on the ultimate victory of God in eternity, three of the systems are historically pessimistic, and only one is optimistic. The three pessimistic systems are premillennialism, amillennialism, and dispensationalism.
The pessimism-optimism issue is the key matter distinguishing postmillennialism from the other three systems. But what do we mean by labeling them “pessimistic”? Those eschatologies are pessimistic in that:
• They deny that Christ’s church will grow to exercise a worldwide gracious influence over all the affairs of man before Christ returns.
• They deny that Christians should plan on and labor toward gospel victory in history.
• They agree that history will ultimately collapse into chaos and despair before Christ returns.
The postmillennial system is historically optimistic in that it takes the opposite position on each of these three issues.
THE TWO AGES AND OLIVET (advertisement)
I am currently researching a study of the Two-Age structure of redemptive history. My starting point is based on the disciples’ questions to Jesus in Matthew 24:3. Much confusion reigns among those unacquainted with the Two-Age analysis of history, which was promoted by Jesus (Matt. 12:32; Mark 10:29-30) and by Paul (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:21). The Two Ages are not the old covenant and the new covenant, but world history since the fall and the consummate order following the Second Coming and the Final Judgment.
If you would like to support me in my research, I invite you to consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to my research and writing ministry: GoodBirth Ministries. Your help is much appreciated!
Click on the following images for more information on these studies:
FYI, I don’t think this is a complete sentence but not sure what word may have gotten forgotten, “People often how postmillennialism claims to be optimistic and charges other millennial views to be pessimistic.”
Oops! The dread typo! I will fix it thanks. It will read: “People often note how postmillennialism claims to be optimistic and charges other millennial views to be pessimistic.”
I love reading these posts and find myself evolving into a postmil convert although I can’t say I am all in with both feet. Raised on dispensational premil, I do now believe my eyes have been opened to the many problems inherent to that line of eschatology. I do believe premil believers labor faithfully toward turning people, as individuals, to the gospel of Christ, but would regretfully agree with your point that they don’t anticipate a widespread victory over the earth before Christ returns. Keep the posts coming, I find them challenging and helpful.
Interestingly, there are a number of premillennialists today that believe God is going to deliver us from the current world turmoil, from the brink of destruction, and bring in a restoration of the world order under the domination of the Church through a sweeping global revival. They believe this will all happen without a Great Tribulation, rapture, Antichrist reign, a concluding 1000 year earthly reign of Christ, etc., (which may happen at some later point in history). Have you heard of this brand of premillennialism ( seems to be a mixture of post and premillenialism)?
I have not heard of this, but it sounds like a merger of pre-millennialism and post-millennialism.