Tag Archives: persecution

2 TIM 3 (# 12): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS?

Stoning 3PMT-2015-017 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In 2 Tim 3:12 Paul seems to undermine postmillennialism, as I have been noting in this series of posts. Many commentators and theologians see this verse as the very antithesis of the victorious expectations of postmillennialism. But what is Paul actually saying? Is he countering the hope of gospel victory?

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

We will look at this verse in its context. But once again, let’s recall how amillennial scholar James White views 2 Tim 3:12 (as he critiqued me in his webcast). At minute marker 16:39 he argues that Paul’s statement is “gnomic” that is, it is “a general statement of truth that is not limited to the days of Paul.” As such “it is a truth that is true as long as this age continues. As long as this age continues, all who live godly in Christ Jesus will continue to be persecuted.” (I recommend checking my last post for more comments by Dr. White.) Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 11): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS? (11)

FearPMT-2015-016 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my continuing, lengthy study of 2 Tim 3 and its use in the eschatological debate, we now come to perhaps Paul’s most significant — and misunderstood! — statement:

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

This certainly seems to undermine the postmillennial hope in history. How can postmillennialism speak of the victory of the gospel leading to worldwide faith and righteousness among men — if all those who live godly in Christ are to be persecuted?

How did this study arise?

My study of this passage was prompted by apologist James White’s webcast critique of my views on 2 Timothy 3. Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 10): PERSECUTION OR PROGRESS?

Persecution 2PMT-2015-015 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my ongoing survey of 2 Tim 3 we have seen that Paul is dealing with first-century issues in this pastoral epistle. He is not writing to his beleaguered ministerial associate Timothy about events to occur 2000 years in the future. He is not sending him the rules for playing pin the horns on the Antichrist. He does not have him guessing the date of the rapture for fun and profit. He is directly confronting the heresies and immorality that are currently afflicting the Ephesian church in Timothy’s day.

(Important aside: Note that Paul did not attach to his second letter to Timothy a four-color, 8 foot long, 3 foot high parchment time-line chart of the rapture, great tribulation, battle of Armageddon, return of Christ, and millennium. This is proof that he is not dispensational: what dispensationalist could resist the temptation to create a chart? I rest my case.) Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 2): PAUL v POSTMILLENNIALISM?

Ancient debatePMT 2015-007 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

One of the key negative passages brought against postmillennial optimism in history is Paul’s third chapter in 2 Timothy. Probably second only to the election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States, these verses are deemed to present us with a dark and bleak outlook on history.

In 2 Tim 3 Paul speaks of “difficult times” and “evil men and imposters,” even warning that “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Do these statements undermine the postmillennial hope? This is an important question to consider in the eschatological debate. Pessimistic eschatologies see these statements as normative for the flow of church history to the end. But do they declare the normative expectation for Christianity throughout the future?

I am continuing a reply to James White’s October 16, 2014 webcast, where he challenged my postmillennial understanding of 2 Timothy 3. You should consult my preceding articles for proper context and even check out my original article to which he is replying (“Postmillennialism and Perilous Times,” PMT 2014-029, March 7, 2014). But I am taking a new turn in my response, now engaging a careful presentation of the postmillennial understanding of 2 Timothy 3. Continue reading

2 TIM 3 (# 1) PAUL v POSTMILLENNIALISM

Calendar 67PMT 2015-006 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Do Paul’s statements in 2 Tim 3 regarding “difficult times,” “evil men and imposters,” and “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” undermine the postmillennial hope for history? These are important questions to consider in the eschatological debate.

Postmillennialism is an optimistic eschatology. But it is surrounded by the various pessimistic eschatologies: amillennialism, premillennialism, and dispensationalism (in all its varieties, including classic dispensationalism, revised dispensationalism, progressive dispensationalism, pre-wrath rapture dispensationalism, mid-Acts dispensationalism, Acts 28 dispensationalism, hyper-dispensationalism, ultra-dispensationalism, and the several dozen other forms of this eschatology founded on the plain-and-simple hermeneutic of literalism).

The pessimistic eschatological systems see Paul’s statements in 2 Timothy 3 as prophetic and normative for all of church history. And as such, these verses would be counter-indicative to postmillennial expectations. But do Paul’s comments in 2 Tim 3 declare the normative expectation for Christianity throughout all of history? Continue reading

JAMES WHITE’S AND 2 TIMOTHY 3 (5)

PMT 2014-152 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.White laughing Gentry 2

This is my fifth article replying to Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries. On his October 16 webcast, he challenged my postmillennial analysis of 2 Timothy 3. See my preceding articles for context and consult my original article to which he replies (“Postmillennialism and Perilous Times,” PMT 2014-029, March 7, 2014).

White’s Objections on the Last Days

White rejects my understanding of 2 Tim 3:1 which records Paul’s statement: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” He mentions that we have been living in the “last days” for a long time, since the first century (Acts 2:16–17; Heb 1:1–2; 9:26). Once again, my postmillennialism agrees with his amillennialism on this understanding of the “last days.”

White, however, believes that Paul is effectively prophesying that the last times will always be characterized by difficult times wherein the majority of men act in depraved ways (2 Tim 3:1-8). And on this understanding, he argues that this cannot fit into the postmillennial expectation of the universal progress and dominance of the gospel in world affairs. And if he were correct in his understanding of Paul, I would agree with him. Continue reading

CURRENT WEAKNESS; FUTURE GLORY

PMT 2014-099 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Heaven

You have suffered long enough: this is my last article in a series on the question of suffering, the church, and postmillennialism. I have been dealing with the charge that God has called the church to suffer in this age, which would seem to undermine the postmillennial expectation. But postmillennialists affirm the reality of suffering — and even in the time of Christianity’s highest advance before Christ returns! How can this be?

We must recognize that even the very height of earthly, postmillennial glory pales in comparison to the “weight of glory” that is ours, and that stirs our deepest longings as sons of God (cf. Php 1:23). As recipients of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, Christians experience “the heightened form which our desire for this future [resurrection] state assumes. For it is not mere desire to obtain a new body, but specifically to obtain it as soon as possible” (cf. 2Co 5:1–10) (G. Vos, Redemptive History, 46). Continue reading