Category Archives: History

AUGUSTINE’S POSTMILL OPTIMISM

AugustinePMW 2021-078 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Modern postmillennialism is the result of a growing understanding of biblical eschatology. And though it undergoes much systematization from its nascent beginnings to the present, in its most basic form, clear adumbrations of it appear in antiquity.

Scholarly Analysis

Most scholars would agree with Millard J. Erickson that “all three millennial positions have been held virtually throughout church history” (he collapses dispensationalism into premillennialism in mentioning only three basic views) (Erickson, Christian Theology, 1212). Robert G. Clouse writes: “Whereas the other strains of millennialism all have deep roots in the history of the church, the dispensational variety is of recent origin” (Clouse, et al. New Millennial Manual, 56). Donald G. Bloesch goes even farther: “Postmillennialism has been present throughout Christian history” (Bloesch, Last Things, 102). Continue reading

WHITBY AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

WhitbyPMW 2021-079 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Most dispensationalists are quite confused regarding the origins of postmillennialism. Hal Lindsey has as confidently declared its modern origins as he has the latest date for the Rapture: “There is no evidence of the distinctive teachings of Postmillennialism earlier than the seventeenth century.”

Charles Baker states: “Its advocates admit that it was first taught in the seventeenth century.” In fact, many dispensationalists wrongly assume that we may trace postmillennialism back only as far as Daniel Whitby in 1703. Continue reading

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AD 70

Temple destroyedPMW 2021-060 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Today we are so distant from the events of AD 70, so removed from the ancient culture, so little acquainted with the first-century Jewish outlook, and so accustomed to the Christian perspective, we tend to overlook the enormous redemptive-historical significance of AD 70. Those events are not merely another sad instance in the history of “man’s inhumanity to man which makes countless thousands mourn.” They serve not as demonstration of “nature, red in tooth and claw.” Neither do they merely remind us of “the carnage of war, the blood-swollen god.”

But such is mistaken. Rather the devastating events of the Jewish War are the historical manifestations of the furious wrath of the offended God of Israel. Transcendent realities stand back of these temporal events. With Nahum we see the smoke of destruction as the dust clouds from God’s feet (Na 1). We learn that truly “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:27) for “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 10:31). Continue reading

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (3)

Nero redivivusPMW 2021-057 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a brief series on problems scholars have with the early (pre-AD 70) date of Revelation. I am using his Leon Morris’ book: The Revelation of St. John (2d. ed.: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) as my main source. Let’s get to work!

A most unusual phenomenon seems to appear in Revelation, according to Morris. His third argument is very popular among late-date theorists. This evidence regards the very unusual and ancient legend known as the Nero Redivivus myth. Morris briefly explains the myth and confidently employs it: “Again, it is urged that the book shows evidence of knowledge of the Nero redivivus myth (e.g. xvii. 8, 11). After Nero’s death it was thought in some circles that he would return. At first this appears to have been a refusal to believe that he was actually dead. Later it took the form of a belief that he would come to life again. This took time to develop and Domitian’s reign is about as early as we can expect it” (Morris 37). Continue reading

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR PRETERISM

PMW 2021-050 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Evangelical preterism is virtually the opposite of dispensational futurism. Because of this, dispensationalists are alarmed at the spread of orthodox preterism among some of its claimants. One means by which they try to dissuade their followers from adopting preterism is by charging that it was a late creation by a Jesuit priest named Luis Alcázar around 1600. Continue reading

AMERICA’S CHRISTIAN FUTURE?

A book endorsement by Ken Gentry.

I have come across a book that ought to be read by all Christians concerned with America’s future. The book is authored by Bobbie Ames and is titled Land That I Love: Restoring Our Christian Heritage (324 pp; Nordskog Press, 2020). I am offering this brief note due to the gravity of our current situation and the lethargy of the contemporary church in America.

Ames engagingly chronicles the astonishing original Christian character of the United States, resulting from God’s unique Providence among his people. From the beginning, God placed His Word in peoples’ hearts in such a way that for the first time in history, Christians thought they could form their own civil communities, with only Christ governing them as King. Continue reading

REFORMATION POSTMILLENNIALISM

PMW 2019-098 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

As Theologian Donald Bloesch notes, “postmillennialism experienced an upsurge in the middle ages,” as illustrated in the writings of Joachim of Fiore (A.D. 1145-1202) and others. But a more fully developed postmillennialism enjoys its greatest growth and influence in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, especially under Puritan and reformed influence in England and America.

Rodney Peterson writes that “this perspective had undergone changes, particularly since Thomas Brightman (1562-1607).” Brightman, who died in 1607, is one of the fathers of Presbyterianism in England. His postmillennial views are set forth in detail in his book A Revelation of the Revelation, which was published posthumously in 1609 and quickly established itself as one of the most widely translated works of the day. In fact, some church historians consider this work the “most important and influential English revision of the Reformed, Augustinian concept of the millennium.” Thus, Brightman stands as the modern systematizer (not creator) of postmillennialism. Continue reading