PMW-2018-011 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Acts 3:19–21 is an important passage in the eschatological debate. I have treated this passage on a previous occasion, but continue to get inquiries. So I thought it would be good to offer some insights again.
This is a favorite passage for the dispensational and premillennial search for a special future for Israel in the New Testament record. It is thought to establish the premillennial expectation against all others. This passage reads:
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts 3:19–21)
PMT 2016-052 by Keith Mathison (Ligonier)
I once heard someone define the millennium as a thousand-year period of time during which Christians fight over the proper interpretation of the book of Revelation. While amusing, that definition is obviously incorrect. Christians have been fighting over the proper interpretation of the book of Revelation for two thousand years. In all seriousness, however, all of the fighting has led some Christians to adopt despairingly a position they call panmillennialism (we don’t know which view of the millennium is correct, but we know it will all pan out in the end).
The word millennium refers to the “thousand years” mentioned in Revelation 20. Because this chapter is found in one of the most difficult books of the New Testament, its proper interpretation is disputed. As a result, there are four main views of the millennium held within the church today: historic premillennialism, dispensational premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism. Continue reading
PMT 2015-021 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The basic evangelical eschatological positions may be broken down into two classes: optimistic or pessimistic. Only postmillennialism is characterized as optimistic. In fact, this is the distinctive feature of postmillennialism, which resembles amillennialism in most other respects.
Amillennialists do not like being deemed pessimistic. And they will often complain that postmillennialists wrongly designate them as “pessimistic.” They generally reject this evaluation for two reasons: (1) It is negative sounding in itself, and (2) it overlooks the fact that they argue that ultimately Christ and his people win the victory at the end of history. Still other amillennialists deny this designation because they call themselves “optimistic amillennialists.” Continue reading
PMT 2015-007 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
One of the key negative passages brought against postmillennial optimism in history is Paul’s third chapter in 2 Timothy. Probably second only to the election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States, these verses are deemed to present us with a dark and bleak outlook on history.
In 2 Tim 3 Paul speaks of “difficult times” and “evil men and imposters,” even warning that “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Do these statements undermine the postmillennial hope? This is an important question to consider in the eschatological debate. Pessimistic eschatologies see these statements as normative for the flow of church history to the end. But do they declare the normative expectation for Christianity throughout the future?
I am continuing a reply to James White’s October 16, 2014 webcast, where he challenged my postmillennial understanding of 2 Timothy 3. You should consult my preceding articles for proper context and even check out my original article to which he is replying (“Postmillennialism and Perilous Times,” PMT 2014-029, March 7, 2014). But I am taking a new turn in my response, now engaging a careful presentation of the postmillennial understanding of 2 Timothy 3. Continue reading
PMT 2015-006 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Do Paul’s statements in 2 Tim 3 regarding “difficult times,” “evil men and imposters,” and “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” undermine the postmillennial hope for history? These are important questions to consider in the eschatological debate.
Postmillennialism is an optimistic eschatology. But it is surrounded by the various pessimistic eschatologies: amillennialism, premillennialism, and dispensationalism (in all its varieties, including classic dispensationalism, revised dispensationalism, progressive dispensationalism, pre-wrath rapture dispensationalism, mid-Acts dispensationalism, Acts 28 dispensationalism, hyper-dispensationalism, ultra-dispensationalism, and the several dozen other forms of this eschatology founded on the plain-and-simple hermeneutic of literalism).
The pessimistic eschatological systems see Paul’s statements in 2 Timothy 3 as prophetic and normative for all of church history. And as such, these verses would be counter-indicative to postmillennial expectations. But do Paul’s comments in 2 Tim 3 declare the normative expectation for Christianity throughout all of history? Continue reading
PMT 2014-153 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is my sixth article replying to White’s October 16, 2014 webcast, where he challenged my postmillennial understanding of 2 Timothy 3. Please see my preceding articles for context and consult my original article to which he replies (“Postmillennialism and Perilous Times,” PMT 2014-029, March 7, 2014).
Just as you hear dispensationalists declare: “The end is near,” so have you heard me declare: “The end of my reply to Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries is near.” But in proof that I am not a prophet (in fact, I seldom even show a profit), I must confess: this article will not be the last one in the series.
I know what you are thinking: “An article series with Gentry is as a thousand entries.” Or: “Of the making of blog articles there is no end.” But no! There was a unmentioned gap in my previous prophecy declaring only six articles. Not really; just kidding. You know I am not a gap theorist, either in the Creation account on in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. So what has happened? Continue reading
PMT 2014-152 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is my fifth article replying to Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries. On his October 16 webcast, he challenged my postmillennial analysis of 2 Timothy 3. See my preceding articles for context and consult my original article to which he replies (“Postmillennialism and Perilous Times,” PMT 2014-029, March 7, 2014).
White’s Objections on the Last Days
White rejects my understanding of 2 Tim 3:1 which records Paul’s statement: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” He mentions that we have been living in the “last days” for a long time, since the first century (Acts 2:16–17; Heb 1:1–2; 9:26). Once again, my postmillennialism agrees with his amillennialism on this understanding of the “last days.”
White, however, believes that Paul is effectively prophesying that the last times will always be characterized by difficult times wherein the majority of men act in depraved ways (2 Tim 3:1-8). And on this understanding, he argues that this cannot fit into the postmillennial expectation of the universal progress and dominance of the gospel in world affairs. And if he were correct in his understanding of Paul, I would agree with him. Continue reading