Category Archives: Objections

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

PROBLEMS WITH THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION (4)

Seven churchesPMW 2021-058 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my final study of the leading objections to the early date. I am using Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John (2d. ed.: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) in considering the arguments.

The historical situations of the seven churches (Rev. 1:4; 2; 3), suggest a late date. Since these are historical churches to which John wrote, the letters may contain historical allusions helpful in dating Revelation. As Morris states it, the “indication is that the churches of Asia Minor seem to have a period of development behind them. This would scarcely have been possible at the time of the Neronic persecution, the only serious competitor in date to the Domitianic period” (Morris, 38). Mounce, Swete, Kümmel, Guthrie, and Beale employ the same argument.

Since I have not previously touched upon this evidence it deserves a little lengthier treatment. I will consider the four strongest arguments from this perspective, once again following the order found in Morris’s work on Revelation. 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

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (2)

Roman persecutionPMW 2021-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Revelation’s early date is generally held by modern postmillennialists of the preterist variety. I have argued elsewhere positively for the early date. So here I am offering a short series that briefly responds to late-date evidences. I am focusing on Leon Morris’ arguments, due to their cogency, succinctness, and his stature as a Revelation commentator.

Morris discovers “indications that Revelation was written in a time of persecution.” This evidence is felt to accord “much better with Domitian.” [1] W. G. Kümmel is quite confident that “the picture of the time which the Apocalypse sketches coincides with no epoch of the primitive history so well as with the period of Domitian’s persecution.” [2] Morris, Kümmel, and a number of other scholars list this as among their leading arguments for the A.D. 95-96 date. Continue reading

WHY WILL SATAN BE LOOSED?

Broken chainsPMW 2021-053 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I continue to receive this question on a regular basis. So I thought it a good idea to re-visit it.

In Rev 20 John focuses briefly on ultimate eschatological events that look well beyond the short time frame of the book. This is anticipated in his referring to the thousand years (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), which by definition must extend beyond the “near” / “at hand” time frame. “Now, although the closing part of the Revelation relates beyond all doubt to a distant period, and some of it to a future eternity, yet the portion of the book which contains this is so small, and that part of the book which was speedily fulfilled is so large, that no reasonable difficulty can be made concerning” the book’s claim to focus on near-term events” (Moses Stuart, Apocalypse, 2:5).

But you may ask why Satan will be loosed. You will have to ask John, not me — for he does not say. Just as God surprisingly allows Satan to enter Eden and tempt Adam and Eve, so does he allow Satan’s re-release to tempt the nations live for a long time under Christ’s rule (cf. G. R. Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 291). Continue reading

POSTMILLENNIALISM’S “SIN PROBLEM” (2)

PMW 2021-044 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last blog article I began a brief consideration of the challenge: How can postmillennialism have a hope for the future in light of the total depravity of man? This is a reasonable challenge. Our eschatology must be compatible with out theology. One doctrine should not undermine another: “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Hal Lindsey complains that postmillennialists “rejected much of the Scripture as being literal and believed in the inherent goodness of man” (Lindsey, Late Great Planet Earth, 176). I would note, however, that postmillennialists do not believe in the inherent goodness of man, but Lindsey most definitely believes in the inherent weakness of the gospel. He believes that man’s sin successfully resists the gospel even to the end of history. Jonah also had a concern regarding the power of the gospel: he feared its power to save wicked, powerful Nineveh (Jon 1:2–3, 10; 3:2; 4:1–4). Continue reading

POSTMILLENNIALISM’S “SIN PROBLEM” (1)

PMW 2021-043 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

One of the most frequent, forceful, and compelling objections against the postmillennial hope of world conversion is based on the problem of sin. Like me, many Christians are committed to Calvinistic doctrine regarding man’s total depravity. Total depravity teaches that man is a fallen sinner and depraved in every aspect of being. How can we have any hope for a better world governed by sinful men? Continue reading