Category Archives: Last Days

2 TIM 3 (# 14): PROCEEDING FROM BAD TO WORSE?

OrgyPMT-2015-019 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Here we go again! I am continuing a survey of 2 Tim 3 and its possible negative impact on the postmillennial hope. This is one of the key passages brought against our optimism for the future. As such, it deserves a careful analysis — which I am engaging in this series.

This series of studies arose in response to a webcast by amillennialist scholar Dr. James R. White of Alpha & Omega Ministries. In his webcast he critiqued my earlier (March 2014) brief (eight paragraphs) article on this passage.

White sees Paul’s teaching in this chapter as undermining postmillennialism. And he deems my understanding of the passage as undermining good exegetical principles. Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 13): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS?

Sunrise 3PMT-2015-017 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Is it universally true that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12)? Are the pessimistic eschatologies correct in interpreting this verse as gnomic, a general truth for all times? If it is, then postmillennialism would be a doubtful proposition.

As I have been showing over this lengthy series, Paul is writing an occasional letter dealing with issues that Timothy is facing in Ephesus, while Paul is languishing in prison (2 Tim 1:16) and facing death (2 Tim 4:6–8). Therefore, as he prepares to leave this world, and to entrust the Ephesian ministry wholly to Timothy, Paul is warning Timothy what he is to expect and how he is to confront it.

It is in such a context that we must understand Paul’s brief statement in 3:12. Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 12): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS?

Stoning 3PMT-2015-017 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In 2 Tim 3:12 Paul seems to undermine postmillennialism, as I have been noting in this series of posts. Many commentators and theologians see this verse as the very antithesis of the victorious expectations of postmillennialism. But what is Paul actually saying? Is he countering the hope of gospel victory?

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

We will look at this verse in its context. But once again, let’s recall how amillennial scholar James White views 2 Tim 3:12 (as he critiqued me in his webcast). At minute marker 16:39 he argues that Paul’s statement is “gnomic” that is, it is “a general statement of truth that is not limited to the days of Paul.” As such “it is a truth that is true as long as this age continues. As long as this age continues, all who live godly in Christ Jesus will continue to be persecuted.” (I recommend checking my last post for more comments by Dr. White.) Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 11): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS? (11)

FearPMT-2015-016 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my continuing, lengthy study of 2 Tim 3 and its use in the eschatological debate, we now come to perhaps Paul’s most significant — and misunderstood! — statement:

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

This certainly seems to undermine the postmillennial hope in history. How can postmillennialism speak of the victory of the gospel leading to worldwide faith and righteousness among men — if all those who live godly in Christ are to be persecuted?

How did this study arise?

My study of this passage was prompted by apologist James White’s webcast critique of my views on 2 Timothy 3. Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 10): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS?

Persecution 2PMT-2015-015 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my ongoing survey of 2 Tim 3 we have seen that Paul is dealing with first-century issues in this pastoral epistle. He is not writing to his beleaguered ministerial associate Timothy about events to occur 2000 years in the future. He is not sending him the rules for playing pin the horns on the Antichrist. He does not have him guessing the date of the rapture for fun and profit. He is directly confronting the heresies and immorality that are currently afflicting the Ephesian church in Timothy’s day.

(Important aside: Note that Paul did not attach to his second letter to Timothy a four-color, 8 foot long, 3 foot high parchment time-line chart of the rapture, great tribulation, battle of Armageddon, return of Christ, and millennium. This is proof that he is not dispensational: what dispensationalist could resist the temptation to create a chart? I rest my case.) Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 9): DESPAIR OR HOPE?

Wolf sheepPMT-2015-014 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Some Christians believe that in 2 Tim 3 Paul’s imprisonment (2 Tim 1:16) and his expectation of his approaching execution (2 Tim 4:6–8), cause him to have a pessimistic outlook on history. They see 2 Tim 3 as a prophetic statement regarding the future expectations of Christianity in the world. They believe Paul is warning that we will always face “difficult times” (2 Tim 3:1) and that we will be overrun with “brutal, haters of good” (2 Tim 3:3).

But does Paul fear the future? Is he prophesying a relentless, downward collapse of human culture which inexorably leads to the persecution of the Christian faith? No, he does not. I believe that 2 Tim 3 has been misinterpreted when used in this manner. And I have been showing over the last eight articles the exegetical reasons why this passage does not contradict the long-term postmillennial expectation. Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 8): DESPAIR OR HOPE?

False facePMT-2015-013 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Apostle Paul presents us with helpful insights into the postmillennial hope. We see some of his strongest material (which serves as a good foundation for the postmillennial hope) in Rom 11 and 1 Cor 15. And yet Paul makes some statements that cause us to wonder about his long-term view of history. Second Tim 3 is deemed by the adherents to pessimistic eschatologies to be destructive of postmillennialism.

What are postmillennialists to say in response?

Introduction

This is my eighth article in a study of this famous “last days” passage. Basically I have been pointing out that Paul is speaking to Timothy about issues he is facing in the first century. As with all of the New Testament Scripture, we may apply his statements beyond the first century — when similar conditions prevail. Yet, I do not believe Paul is prophesying that history will always be filled with “difficult times” until the end. Continue reading