PMW 2019-098 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As Theologian Donald Bloesch notes, “postmillennialism experienced an upsurge in the middle ages,” as illustrated in the writings of Joachim of Fiore (A.D. 1145-1202) and others. But a more fully developed postmillennialism enjoys its greatest growth and influence in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, especially under Puritan and reformed influence in England and America.
Rodney Peterson writes that “this perspective had undergone changes, particularly since Thomas Brightman (1562-1607).” Brightman, who died in 1607, is one of the fathers of Presbyterianism in England. His postmillennial views are set forth in detail in his book A Revelation of the Revelation, which was published posthumously in 1609 and quickly established itself as one of the most widely translated works of the day. In fact, some church historians consider this work the “most important and influential English revision of the Reformed, Augustinian concept of the millennium.” Thus, Brightman stands as the modern systematizer (not creator) of postmillennialism. Continue reading
PMW 2019-097 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The early creedal formulations of Christianity provide only the most rudimentary elements of eschatology. For instance, the Apostle’s Creed simply affirms:
“He ascended into heaven; and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead,” and a belief “in the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.” The eschatology of the Nicene Creed makes only very slight advances, asserting that he “ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.” Continue reading
PMW 2019-092 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Isaiah 19:18ff is an encouraging prophecy that relates the postmillennial hope of the gospel conquering the world. It shows the gospel will even overwhelm the historic enemies of God. Calvin’s exposition of this passage is extremely helpful for encouraging the postmillennial outlook. I am continuing citing Calvin’s material, beginning now with Isa 19:21.
And the Lord shall be known by the Egyptians (Isa 19:21).
Isaiah now adds what was most important; for we cannot worship the Lord, or call upon him, till we have first acknowledged him to be our Father. “ How” says Paul, “ can they call on him whom they know not?” (Rom 10:14.) We cannot be partakers of the gifts of God for our salvation without previously having true knowledge, which is by faith. He therefore properly adds, the knowledge of God, as the foundation of all religion, or the key that opens to us the gate of the heavenly kingdom. Now, there cannot be knowledge without doctrine; and hence infer, that God disapproves of all kinds of false worship; for he cannot approve of anything that is not guided by knowledge, which springs from hearing true and pure doctrine. Whatever contrivance therefore men may make out of their own minds, they will never attain by it the true worship of God. We ought carefully to observe passages like this, in which the Spirit of God shews what is the true worship and calling of God, that, having abandoned the inventions to which men are too obstinately attached, we may allow ourselves to be taught by the pure word of God, and, relying on his authority, may freely and boldly condemn all that the world applauds and admires. Continue reading
PMW 2019-091 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am continuing my citation of John Calvin’s postmillennial-like exposition of Isaiah 19:18ff. Calvin does an excellent job on these important verses.
In that day shall there be an altar in the midst of the land of Egypt (Isa 19:19).
Isaiah continues what he had said in the former verse, and states more clearly that the aspect of Egypt will be renewed, because there true religion will flourish, the pure worship of God will be set up, and all superstitions will fall to the ground. He employs the word altar to denote, as by a sign, the worship of God; for sacrifices and oblations were the outward acts of piety. By the midst of Egypt he means the chief part of the whole kingdom, as if he had said, “the very metropolis,”or, “the very heart of the kingdom.”
And a statue to the Lord. Let it not be supposed that by statue are meant images which carry the resemblance of men or of saints; but memorials of piety; for he means that they will be marks similar to those which point out the boundaries of kingdoms, and that in this manner signs will be evident, to make known to all men that God rules over this nation. And indeed it usually happens that a nation truly converted to God, after having laid aside idols and superstitions, openly sets up signs of the true religion, that all may know that the worship of God is purely observed in it. Continue reading
PMW 2019-090 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this and the following ones, I will be citing John Calvin’s commentary on Isaiah 19:18–25. We find in his exposition a strong encouragement to the postmillennial hope. Before I begin citing Calvin, I will cite Isaiah since he is almost as good as Calvin! 😉 Be aware, I am citing the NASB which Calvin refused to use.
“In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the LORD of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction. In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them. Thus the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the LORD and perform it. The LORD will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the LORD, and He will respond to them and will heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’” (Isaiah 19:18-25 NASB).
PMT 2017-024 by David C. Noe (New Horizons)
“In a bold act of defiance, comparable to flag burning today, the assembled ate the sausages served by the host.” This is how D. G. Hart begins Calvinism: A History, his comprehensive social history of the branch of Protestantism most familiar to Orthodox Presbyterians, namely the Reformed faith, which takes the biblical teachings of John Calvin and others like him as its guide. The story recounts an act of Lenten rebellion that broke out in Zurich in 1522. The priest Ulrich Zwingli attended this table of discord, and a month later he preached a sermon with the title “On the Choice and Freedom of Foods.” Continue reading
PMT 2013-024 by Dennis Swanson
Charles Hodge (1797–1878) has been called, “the most prominent American Presbyterian theologian of the nineteenth century” and was clearly one of the most outstanding theologians that America has ever produced. Mark Noll presents this evaluation of Hodge’s contributions:
“[Archibald] Alexander’s student Charles Hodge (1797-1878) extended this theological viewpoint into a powerful system of thought during his fifty-six years as a Princeton professor. Hodge used the same sources that Alexander had employed to defend the glory of God (instead of the happiness of humanity) as the purpose of life, to affirm the power of the Holy Spirit in salvation (against views of human self-determination), and to champion the Scriptures as the proper fount of theology (against either human religious experience or the dictates of formal reason). Hodge once remarked proudly that there had never been a new idea at Princeton, by which he meant that Princeton intended to pass on Reformed faith as it had been defined in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”