PMT 2015-090 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Amillennialists often complain that postmillennialists wrongly categorize 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 believe 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.”
What do postmillennialists mean by categorizing amillennialism as “pessimistic”? Is the charge legitimate. I believe it is.
Obviously all evangelical eschatological perspectives are ultimately optimistic — even dispensationalists who make a very nice living from books on cultural decline, despair, and doom. After all, Christ does lead his people to victory in saving them from their sins in history, resurrecting them from the dead at the end of history, and establishing them in righteousness in eternity. 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 2015-029 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I became a postmillennialist after becoming dismayed with dispensationalism. But I did not leap from dispensational despair to postmillennial progress in a single bound. Nor was my move faster than a speeding bullet. Nor did I deem it necessary to wear a red cape to do this. (I’ll see how many of you watched Superman on TV in the 1950s.)
I was converted in a dispensational ministry: my dispensationalist uncle’s church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Then I enrolled in Tennessee Temple College (which just closed down this week!) where I secured a B.A. in Biblical Studies. Now armed-and-dangerous with dispensational proof-texts, I set sail to Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. There I was being trained in a higher level, more scholarly version of dispensationalism. 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