Category Archives: Optimism

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

1 JOHN 2:2 BY B. B. WARFIELD (1)

Cross all men“Jesus Christ the Propitiation for the Whole World” (1)
PMW 2021-083 by Benjamin B. Warfield

[Gentry note: This is 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)

As a means of comforting Christians distressed by their continued lapses into sin, John, in the opening words of the second chapter of his first Epistle, is led to assure them that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, a Righteous One”; and by way of showing how prevailing his advocacy is, to add, “And he is himself a propitiation for our sins.” There he might well have stopped. Continue reading

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

POSTMILLENNIAL EXPECTATIONS IN CREATION FOUNDATIONS

sunrise-4PMW 2021-067 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Does the “Cultural Mandate” in Gen 1:26-28 help the postmillennial argument? Or is it “forced” evidence? One PMT reader expressed doubt that this has anything to do with the postmillennial hope. So I ask:

Does this passage speak to the postmillennial program? I believe it does. And powerfully so. Continue reading

PRIMER ON POSTMILLENNIALISM (5)

feetPMW 2021-065 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I have been presenting the postmillennial understanding of the millennial hope in this five-part series. Hopefully this series will be useful as an introduction to postmillennialism for those unfamiliar with it or, as yet, unpersuaded by its argument.

In this article we will very briefly consider one of the key texts in Paul’s writing, from the vitally important fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. Continue reading

PRIMER ON POSTMILLENNIALISM (3)

isaiah-preachingPMT 2021-063 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the third in a series of studies on the “millennium” from Rev. 20 and how postmillennialists understand it, especially over against amillennialists.

Prophecy and the Postmillennial Hope

The Old Testament is, of course, full of eschatological pronouncements. Israel was blessed with many writing prophets who have left us a record of their inspired insights into the future. I could profitably survey a number of the Messianic Psalms.

For instance, I could highlight Psalm 2, taking special note of the promise: “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, / And the very ends of the earth as Your possession” (Psa 2:8). Did Jesus ask for the nations from the father? Yes, he did as we see in his Great Commission: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’” (Matt 28:18–29). Continue reading