PMT 2015-012 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
2 Tim 3 seems to undermine the postmillennial hope with it’s warning of “difficult times” (v 1), “arrogant revilers” (v 2), and “men of depraved mind” (v 8). But it actually does not — when properly interpreted.
In my last article I argued that Paul was specifically warning Timothy about evil people he is facing. In addition, I noted that the evil he must expect was not from external persecution, but internal defection by false teachers in the Ephesian church (as was Titus’ situation in Crete). And I observed that this is precisely what Paul predicted to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29–31:
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
In 2 Tim 3:2-5 Paul presents a vice list which, as we will see, applies to the “savage wolves” who are “speaking perverse things” in the Ephesian church “to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–31). Continue reading
PMT 2015-011 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am continuing a defense of postmillennialism in response to those who bring 2 Tim 3 to bear against it. This text is almost universally brought up in rebuttals of postmillennialism. And we can easily see why. Paul appears to be presenting a future quite at odds with the optimism of postmillennialism. when he writes: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come” (2 Tim 3:1).
I would like to provide more contextual background to 2 Tim 3 by surveying all three Pastoral Epistles. But due to space limitations and the nature of blogs, I will have to suppress that desire. Nevertheless, I hope the running commentary that I will provide on 2 Tim 3 will be insightful — even though lacking the fuller treatment.
In my two immediately preceding articles (PMT 2015-009 and 010) I focused on the important phrase “last days” in 2 Tim 3:1. And I would point out that in an even earlier study of this verse (PMT 2014-153) I presented the meaning of the “difficult times” that Paul foresees. In that article I was responding to the amillennial apologist, Dr. James White. I recommend consulting that article to supplement this one: (Click Here).
Briefly though, I argued there that Paul is not prophesying a future dominated by unrelenting “difficult times.” Rather he is warning that during the period of the last days (beginning with Christ’s ministry in the first century and continuing to the last day at the end of history), the church must expect periods of difficulty. A world of difference separates these two understandings. And that difference distinguishes optimistic postmillennialism from the pessimistic eschatologies of amillennialism, premillennialism, and the various branches of dispensationalism. What do I mean? Continue reading
PMT 2015-010 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am engaged in a running exposition on 2 Tim 3. This is one of the most widely used passages urged against the postmillennial position. It seems to present a negative view of the future flow of history. But a careful study of the passage wholly removes it as a stumbling block to postmillennialism. It certainly does not positively present postmillennialism, but neither may it be used against this optimistic eschatology.
So let us move on in our explanation of 2 Tim 3:1:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
PMT 2015-008 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The postmillennial hope is optimistic regarding the historical long-run. But it is frequently rejected on the basis of current world events. Yet current conditions should not undermine this hope. We must remember: postmillennialism is a theological construct that is built up from Scripture — not from the newspapers.
Postmillennialists clearly recognize and sadly accept the current dismal world conditions. But we respond by noting the actual definition of postmillennialism. Continue reading
PMT 2014-128 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
An interview of me made recently for an introduction to a conference engagement.
1. People now days are fascinated with “the end times.” And with the reboot of the Left Behind series, discussions about the end times will continue to increase. No doubt, we will hear more talk about things like the 7-yr tribulation, the rapture, the mark of the beast, etc. These are key parts to the theology that undergirds the Left Behind books and movie. But what most people don’t realize is that this theology, known as Dispensationalism, is actually a relatively new way to read Scripture. That is, up until only about 150 years ago, no Christian on record ever believed some of things that is depicted in the Left Behind series. Could you comment more on this fact?
Dispensationalism arose in the 1830s in England, about the same time as Mormonism was arising in America, and not long before the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was a time of much prophetic speculation and expectation. John N. Darby created dispensationalism as a prophetic outlook that eventually became a whole theology. He fully expected the Lord’s return in his lifetime, which ended 130 years ago (in 1882). It has constantly been frustrated with wrong predictions of the Rapture, such as Hal Lindsey’s 1980 book “The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon” and his 1996 book: “Planet Earth 2000: Will Mankind Survive.” Continue reading