Category Archives: Optimism

DEFINING POSTMILLENNIALISM

thumbing-bookPMW 2022-057 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

From time-to-time a review is helpful for understanding a system of thought. And basic definitions are therefore in order. This is especially true in presenting postmillennialism because it is widely misunderstood and subject to radical misconceptions. This is a particular problem for attempting to explain postmillennialism to someone who has been a dispensationalist for a long time. Continue reading

WAS ISAIAH A GRADUALIST?

PMW 2021-092 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Mustard seedIn this article I am continuing a response to a reader who wonders if the NT teaches a gradualistic development of Christ’s kingdom to victory. He was especially curious since Rom 8 appears to speak of the fulfillment of Isa 11, with Rom 8 speaking of the consummation rather than history. I recommend reading my previous article to get his particular question before you. Continue reading

VICTORY FIRST; THEN THE END

Cross over worldPMW 2021-091 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Postmillennialism differs from the other evangelical eschatologies in a very important respect: Postmillennialism is optimistic about the progress of the gospel in history. We believe that Christ’s victory on the cross will exercise a tremendous influence in history — before the end, before the return of Christ.

We see this throughout the Scriptural record. Some amillennialists charge that postmillennialism is built solely on Old Testament texts, and that its optimistic outlook cannot be found in the New Testament. But that is absolutely mistaken. Let us consider one text in Paul as an example of Christ’s victory in history before his return: 1 Corinthians 15. Continue reading

GRADUAL VICTORY IN THE NT

Trickle waterPMW 2021-089 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader has sent me a very perceptive email that well deserves my attention. And I think answering it will prove valuable to you in your postmillennial study as I engage the question it presents. He writes:

“Reflecting on Isaiah 11 —— ‘The Peaceable Kingdom.’ If we take that to be a portrait of the ‘post-millennial’ millennium, then I would find its New Testament counterpart in Romans 8 (redemption of all creation).

But — here’s the question — apart from 1 Corinthians 15 (‘and he must reign…’) and The Parable of the Mustard Seed and leaven in the lump, I see very little in the New Testament itself which seems to envision the slow growth of the kingdom resulting in a victorious display within an historic millennium. Continue reading

WHAT ABOUT SUFFERING?

PMW 2021-087 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Postmillennialism is distinguished from the pessimistic eschatologies of amillennialism, premillennialism, and dispensationalism as being optimistic. In the long run, mind you. Nevertheless, the Bible seems to develop a suffering-church motif.

Oftentimes the (historically) pessimistic eschatologies employ the suffering-church motif against the optimistic hope of postmillennialism. But the postmillennial system can handle the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and can take arms against the sea of troubles. Let us see how postmillennialism recognizes the fact of suffering and yet remains optimistic regarding the global prospects of the gospel.

Postmillennialists can affirm suffering-with-Christ as a basic element of our Christian experience even up to the end — if we carefully reflect on the biblical requirements of the suffering argument. Continue reading

1 JOHN 2:2 BY B. B. WARFIELD (3)

Cross and world“Jesus Christ the Propitiation for the Whole World” (3)
PMW 2021-083 by Benjamin B. Warfield

[Gentry note: This is part 3 of an excellent article by renowned postmillennial Princeton scholar, B. B. Warfield.]

The Meaning of “Propitiation”

The expedient made use of by many commentators in their endeavor to escape from this maze of contradictions is to distinguish between Christ as our “Advocate” and Christ as our “Propitiation,” and to connect actual salvation with him only in the former function. Thus Richard Rothe tells us that “the propitiation in Christ concerns the whole world,” but “only those in Christ have an advocate in Christ,” with the intimation that it is Christ’s advocacy which “makes the efficacy of his propitiation effective before God.” In this view the propitiation is conceived as merely laying a basis for actual forgiveness of sins, and is spoken of therefore rather as “sufficient” than efficacious—becoming efficacious only through the act of faith on the part of the believer by which he secures Christ as his Advocate. This is the view presented by B. F. Westcott also, according to whom Christ is advocate exclusively for Christians, while he is a propitiation for the whole world. His propitiatory death on earth was for all men; his advocacy in heaven is for those only who believe in him. Here, there is a universal atonement taught, with a limited application, contingent on actual faith: “the efficacy of his work for the individual depends upon fellowship with him.” Continue reading

1 JOHN 2:2 BY B. B. WARFIELD (2)

Savior of world“Jesus Christ the Propitiation for the Whole World” (2)
PMT 2021-082 by Benjamin B. Warfield

[Gentry note: This is part 2 of an excellent article by renowned postmillennial Princeton scholar, B. B. Warfield.]

“And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”
(1 John 2:2)

The Problem of “the World”

The search for John’s meaning naturally begins with an attempt to ascertain what he intends by “the world.” He sets it in contrast with an “our” by which primarily his readers and himself are designated: “And he is himself a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world.” John’s readers apparently are immediately certain Christian communities in Asia Minor; and it is possible to confine the “our” strictly to them. In that case it is not impossible to interpret “the whole world,” which is brought into contrast with the Christians specifically of Asia Minor, as referring to the whole body of Christians extended throughout the world. Continue reading