PMW 2022-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my last blog article I introduced the question: “Is the church called to suffer?” The suffering church motif is widespread in evangelical theology. And one reason it is so is because the church is suffering and has long suffered. Another reason though is that there are numerous verses in the New Testament that seem to confirm this perception.
In the opening article I cited several well-known theologians who make this argument. How can the postmillennialist respond? I am dealing with this question in several articles because of its significance — and because of confusion regarding postmillennialism itself. 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
PMT 2014-094 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Most non–postmillennial eschatologies argue that the church is called to endure suffering throughout the entirety of history. They argue that they are optimistic, in that the church has a hope for glory, though only beyond the present era and after the return of Christ. By this maneuver they attempt to discount charges of pessimism against their position, while simultaneously seeking to undermine the postmillennial system. If this is so, no room exists in the biblical view of the church for a long era of righteousness, peace, and prosperity.
In this brief series of articles I will be responding to the very widespread argument for the suffering-church motif. To set the table, let us first note many proponents of this motif:
William Hendriksen teaches as strongly as conceivable that the gospel age “will finally result in the complete destruction of the church as a mighty and influential organization for the spread of the Gospel. For, finally every tribe and people and tongue and nation will worship antichristian government.” (Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, 178) Continue reading