IS POSTMILLENNIALISM IMPOSSIBLE?

PMW 2019-037 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Our Lord Jesus Christ ministered for over three years proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God. But after initially drawing a “great multitude” of followers (Jn 6:2), John records with disappointment that “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (Jn 6:66). In fact, toward the end of his ministry one of his own twelve disciples turned against him, literally selling him out to the authorities (Jn 13:18; Ac 1:18-19). And even his remaining faithful disciples forsook him in cowardly fear as he was on trial for his life (Mt 26:31, 56; Lk 22:31-34), locking themselves away from opponents (Jn 20:19).

With such a shaky start, what might we expect to become of the kingdom of God, which Christ initially proclaimed as near (Mk 1:15; Mt 4:17) and eventually established as present (Mt 12:28; Lk 17:20-21)? In other words, what is the outlook for the Christian faith in the historical long run? How should we answer a query such as Christ poses: “When the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth” (Lk 18:8)? Continue reading

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PRETERISM IN HISTORY

PMW 2019-036 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The preterist perspective is making its presence felt in current prophecy discussions. Unfortunately, dispensational eschatology, which arose in the 1830s and is built on the futurist system, thoroughly dominates evangelical preaching, education, publishing, broadcasting today, and day dreaming. Consequently, evangelical Christians are largely unfamiliar with preterism, making it seem to be the “new kid on the block.” Preterism, however, is as hoary with age as is futurism. And despite its overshadowing in this century, it has been well represented by leading Bible-believing scholars through the centuries into our current day.

PATRISTIC CHRISTIANITY

One of the best known and most accessible of the ancient preterists is Eusebius (A.D. 260-340), the “father of church history.” Continue reading

JOHN DID NOT WRITE SEVEN “LETTERS” (3)

PMW 2019-035 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the final installment in a three-part study of seven “letters” to the seven churches in Revelation. I have been arguing that they are not really letters at all. Rather they are judgment oracles. This fits perfectly with the preterist understanding of Rev as a covenant lawsuit against Israel. In the previous article I offered the first two arguments for the oracular nature of these seven messages. In this article I will complete my argument by presenting my final three points.

Third, the oracles are a part of the crucial, introductory vision of the Son of Man and even flesh out this visionary unit that extends from 1:9 all the way through to 3:22. The oracles are not separate, free-standing material. Unfortunately, this is obscured by the modern chapter divisions imposed upon the text. But we can see the unified nature of this larger section from several lines of evidence: Continue reading

JOHN DID NOT WRITE SEVEN “LETTERS” (2)

PMW 2019-034 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In the preceding article in this three-part series, I introduced the concept that the seven messages that appear early in Rev are not really letters. Rather they should be understood as prophetic oracles built on the covenant lawsuit model of the Old Testament. These seven oracles are important for several reasons. I will highlight two of those in this article, and the remaining ones in my next article.

First, a major reason John writes Rev is to encourage faithfulness through the storm of persecution befalling John’s original Christian recipients. Throughout Rev he urges perseverance through the coming trials (1:3, 9; 12:11; 13:10; 14:4–5; 16:16; 17:14; 21:7). For instance, John opens with: “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9). So at the very beginning of his book John declares that he and his recipients are “in the tribulation” and that they must also engage in “perseverance.” The several other verses I list above also testify to the urgent call to hold on through the storm. Continue reading

JOHN DID NOT WRITE SEVEN “LETTERS” (1)

PMW 2019-033 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The literary genre of Revelation is one of the key issues in its proper interpretation. The question of genre even affects our understanding of the seven letters in Rev. 2 and 3. The “Seven Letters of Revelation” are a familiar and popular section of John’s Revelation. Unfortunately, these popularly-designated “letters” to the seven churches are not actually letters at all.

Rather the so-called Seven Letters are actually more adapted to Revelation’s overarching literary genre and judgment message. They are prophetic oracles or royal proclamations. And as such they perfectly fit in with the theme and flow of Revelation. Continue reading

EVIL KING MANASSEH’S CONVERSION?

PMW 2019-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Elsewhere on this blog site I define postmillennialism as follows:

Postmillennialism holds that the Lord Jesus Christ established his kingdom on earth in the first century through his preaching and redemptive work. Since then he has continued to equip his Church with the gospel, empower her by his Spirit, and charge her with the Great Commission to disciple all nations. Postmillennialism expects that eventually the vast majority of men living will be saved. Increasing gospel success will gradually produce a time in history prior to Christ’s return in which faith, righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail in the affairs of men and of nations. After an extensive era of such conditions, the Lord will return visibly, bodily, and gloriously, to end history. Associated with his return will be the general resurrection and the final judgment after which the eternal order follows. Because of its worldwide historical implications, postmillennialism generates an holistic worldview touching on all areas of life.

That being the case, we must be alert to an important distinction between true and false conversions. Postmillennialists are glad for the general influence of Christianity on the world. But what we labor for and ultimately expect is a dramatic impact on the world that is rooted in true conversions by the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). We are all aware that much of Christianity is today made up of falsely-professing “believers.” These people should be targets of our evangelistic outreach, for being “almost persuaded” is not enough. Continue reading

A VOTE AGAINST ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIGOTRY

Gentry note:

With Christianity and its moral values the whipping boys of our collapsing culture, Christians ought to be pleased that not everyone is walking lock-step (goose-stepping) downward into the void. This is a helpful news article that should encourage our hope, though our hope is not in politics but in Christ.  The spiritual, moral, and social values of Christianity rooted in God’s law will one day be the rule rather than the exception. We not only need to be aware of the change that is coming, but of the problem we now face with liberalism and secularism as the dominant cultural outlook.

A Vote Against Anti-Christian Bigotry
by David French (National Review)

Wisconsin supreme-court candidate Brian Hagedorn was supposed to lose. He was running in a state that had just ousted Governor Scott Walker. A year ago, a liberal supreme-court candidate had won her race by almost twelve points. And to make matters worse, the media had labeled Hagedorn as a bigot, a Christian hater outside the Wisconsin mainstream. Business groups had abandoned him. One trade association had even demanded a return of its donation, claiming that his “issues” directly conflicted with the “values” of its members. Continue reading