Category Archives: Optimism

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

MY FAVORITE POSTMILLENNIAL VERSES

Bible pointingPMW 2021-031 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I became a postmillennialist after becoming dismayed with dispensationalism, while studying at Grace Theological seminary. But I did not leap from dispensational despair to postmillennial progress in a single bound. Nor was my move faster than a speeding bullet. Nor did I deem it necessary to wear a red cape to do this. (I’ll see how many of you watched Superman on TV in the 1950s.)

Eschatological journey

I was converted in a dispensational ministry: my dispensationalist uncle’s church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Then I enrolled in Tennessee Temple College, a fundamentalist Baptist operated school, where I secured a B.A. in Biblical Studies. Now armed-and-dangerous with dispensational proof-texts, I set sail to Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. There I was being trained in a higher level, more scholarly version of dispensationalism. Continue reading

PERSECUTION AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

PMW 2021-030 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Critics of postmillennialism will often turn to negative sounding passages in the New Testament in order to discredit any postmillennialism optimism regarding the future.

For instance, Matthew 10:23 is a favorite in this regard:

“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”

Since postmillennialism expects a future in which Christianity reigns supreme, and in which righteousness and peace will prevail throughout the world, texts such as this one must be explained. Postmillennialism cannot be true if Christians will always be hated and the only hope we have is our bare endurance.

But does this passage teach such? I do not believe that it does. We must read the verse in its context to grasp what our Lord is actually declaring.


three views millennium

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (ed. by Darrell Bock)

Presents three views on the millennium: progressive dispensationalist, amillennialist, and reconstructionist postmillennialist viewpoints. Includes separate responses to each view. Ken Gentry provides the postmillennial contribution.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


In Matt 10 Jesus appoints his disciples as apostles, investing them with great authority (Matt 10:1–2). And at this stage of his ministry he limits their outreach to Israel alone: “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (Matt 10:5–6). Of course, this is not the way it was always to be, for later at the end of his ministry he commissions his church to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt 28:19).

Furthermore, immediately after his limiting their mission to Israel, he teaches them what they are to preach: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt 10:7). This also shows the early phase of his ministry. The kingdom has not yet come, though it is close at hand.

He then directs them to go from city-to-city in Israel to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and so forth (Matt 10:8–15). He notes that he is sending them “as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt 10:16). And in doing so he warns them: “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles” (Matt 10:17–18). This clearly speaks of their ministry to Israel, for it mentions the trouble they will experience from the synagogues.

He further warns that “brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death” (Matt 10:21). Then we read the verse that raised our question: “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matt 10:22).

Then following this warning he promises: “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes” (Matt 10:23). We must ask: “Whenever who persecutes you?” Contextually, it is speaking expressly of Jewish opposition.

What Matt 10:22 is declaring then is that as his twelve disciples (who are all dead by now!) engage the mission to Israel, they must hang tough, they must endure through the raging of Israel against Christ and his followers. Not only so, but he promises he will come in judgment against Israel before they have finished going through all the cities of Israel. This refers to the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the specific “end” in view.

A similar statement to Matt 10:22 is found in Matt 24:13: “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” And again, the context points to the time preceding the fall of Jerusalem, for he is answering a question about the coming destruction of the temple (Matt 24:2–3).

Thus, Matt 10:22 (and Matt 24:13) do not speak of relentless persecution to the end of history (are you persecuted to death?). Rather it is referring to Jewish persecution of the Christian faith that leads up to AD 70.


The Harrowing of Hell (by Jay Rogers)
This postmillennial book examines the power of the Gospel, not only to overcome all opposition, but to rise far above the powers of hell. The term “Harrowing of Hell” refers to idea that Christ descended into Hell, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed.

For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com


“PERILOUS TIMES” IN POSTMILLENNIALISM?

PMW 2021-013 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In 2 Timothy 3:1 we find a passage that seems to undercut the postmillennial optimism for the historical long run. There Paul writes: “realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.”

Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger sees this passage as a problem for those who hold the prospect of a victorious church: “Throughout the last days, some will distort the gospel to tickle itching ears and gather followers to themselves.” He continues in response to postmillennialism: “Paul warned us that this lamentable state of affairs is an inevitability for Christ’s church.” Continue reading

THE CONQUERING CHRIST AND THE MILLENNIUM

PMW 2021-009 by Milton S. Terry

Milton Terry (1840–1914) has many valuable insights into the Book of Revelation, some of which highlight his postmillennialism. In this and the next few articles, I will be highlighting some of these. Interestingly, though he rightly notes Revelation’s focus on first-century events, he also recognizes a few brief glances into the distant future (as do I!).

I will be citing the Revelation commentary section of his Biblical Apocalyptics as providing interesting and important insights for postmillennialists. Once it is introduced, all of the following material will be a direct citation from his book, although I have broken it into smaller paragraphs. Older writers (from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) apparently saw no need for a paragraph ever to end! And writers even older than Terry, such as John Gill (1697–1771), saw no need for a sentence to end — especially since they enjoyed the use of the semi-colon. Fortunately, they did not follow first century practice of not even having spacing between words so that a word itself would never end! Continue reading

TOWARD A BIBLICAL OPTIMISM

PMW 2021-005 by Timothy M. Kucij

At the time of our marriage, many years ago, my wife and I made some promises to ourselves, each other, and to God. One of these promises was that we would read the Scriptures daily in a devotional setting. As we focused on the general tenure of Scripture it became evident that here was an optimistic book. Christ is pictured throughout as the conquering Savior with a promise of the ultimate triumph of His people and His kingdom on earth in this age.

Most of the outstanding characters of the Bible reflected this optimism, even in the darkest of times. In Noah’s day the earth was filled with violence and wickedness. Noah was commissioned by God to build an ark to save the human race and certain animals from impending disaster. It must be remembered that he was surrounded by a mass of godless unbelievers who would come and see his work, attracted by curiosity, and no doubt remain to scoff at him. Still his faith remained. He preached a positive message of victory from disaster. Continue reading

SATAN’S FIRST CENTURY BINDING (2)

Satan falling 2PMW 2020-076 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my previous article I began a two-part study on the binding of Satan as an important feature of the postmillennial hope. This article concludes the thoughts begun there.

The dramatic imagery that John employs in Revelation 20:1–3 teaches that Satan has been “bound” so that he “should not deceive the nations any longer.” This allows all those who are spiritually resurrected believers to “reign with him” in his kingdom. Despite popular misunderstanding of this passage, this vision speaks of realities already established in Christ’s first coming, as we can tell from several reasons. Continue reading