PMW 2022-049 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my last blog post I began a consideration of the question: “How can we have hope today?” Is hope hopeless. And if it is, what is to become of the postmillennial hope. This is the second and concluding article on that question. I hope you will read the previous article first (see there is hope!).
Earthly Hope in History
The early ante-Nicene church struggled mightily in their task. Initially, they were but a “little flock” (Luke 12:32) who humbly committed their lives to a despised, rejected, and crucified Lord (1 Cor. 2:8). Initially, they were hunted down by the mightiest empire of the world, to be thrown to the beasts for refusing to worship Caesar, to be burned in the fires for affirming Christ’s lordship. Surely their times were fraught with unspeakable terror such as we have not known in modern America. Yet by the grace of God, a little over 200 years after the Apostles left the scene the emperor Constantine professed faith in Christ, lifting the earthly burden from our spiritual forefathers. Christ’s little flock was witnessing His kingdom coming with power, His gospel exercising a growing influence in the world. Continue reading →
PMW 2022-048 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In his letter to the troubled Corinthian church, Paul lists three Christians virtues while exhorting them to a closer walk with Christ: faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13). This three-fold cord of holy values provides a strong bond of commitment for the Christian, and has tied the Church of Jesus Christ together throughout the ages.
Faith and love are not only beautiful threads knitting together the fabric of the Christian life, but are easily recognized as such. They weave a strong carpet for the Christian walk; they serve as dual strands tugging us forward in our holy calling. And though hope is certainly not a detached thread from the Christian garment, it has been snagged loose and at best is only partially visible to the eye of faith today.
Certainly all Christians are united in recognizing our ultimate, glorious resurrection hope in our heavenly home. We know that the present fallen order is not all that we may expect in our experience of God’s grace. The beatific vision in Scripture encourages us to keep a hopeful eye on heaven above even as we watch our steps in the earth below. And though eternal life in the presence of God is the ultimate hope of the Christian and the abiding consequence of the gospel, it does not exhaust the full significance of biblical hope. Continue reading →
PMW 2021-090 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Luke 18:8 Jesus makes a statement that seems to undermine any notion of the postmillennial hope. There we read:
“I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Dispensationalists employ this verse with great confidence against postmillennialism. And we can certainly see why. Consider the following comments by dispensationalists. Continue reading →
PMW 202-088 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Oftentimes critics of postmillennialism will go to NT passages such as Matt 10:22 to discredit postmillennialism’s long-term optimism. That passage reads:
“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. Continue reading →
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 →
PMW 2021-054 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The basic evangelical eschatological positions may be broken down into two classes: optimistic or pessimistic. Only postmillennialism is characterized as optimistic. In fact, this is the distinctive feature of postmillennialism, which resembles amillennialism in most other respects.
Amillennialists do not like being deemed pessimistic. And they will often complain that postmillennialists wrongly designate them as “pessimistic.” They generally reject this evaluation for two reasons: (1) It is negative sounding in itself, and (2) it overlooks the fact that they argue that ultimately Christ and his people win the victory at the end of history. Still other amillennialists deny this designation because they call themselves “optimistic amillennialists.” Continue reading →
PMW 2021-033 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Amillennialists often complain that postmillennialists wrongly categorize them as “pessimistic.” They generally reject this evaluation for two reasons: (1) It is negative sounding in itself. And (2) it overlooks the fact that they believe that ultimately Christ and his people win the victory at the end of history. Still other amillennialists deny this designation because they call themselves “optimistic amillennialists.”
What do postmillennialists mean by categorizing amillennialism as “pessimistic”? Is the charge legitimate. I believe it is.
Obviously all evangelical eschatological perspectives are ultimately optimistic — even dispensationalists who make a very nice living from books on cultural decline, despair, and doom. After all, Christ does lead his people to victory in saving them from their sins in history, resurrecting them from the dead at the end of history, and establishing them in righteousness in eternity. Continue reading →