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AMILLENNIAL OPPOSITION TO POSTMILLENNIALISM

Guest —  March 24, 2012 — 7 Comments

Below is an article by an amillennialist rebutting postmillennialism. What are your thoughts? (Ken Gentry)

The importance for the Church of the return of Jesus Christ can hardly be overemphasized.  It is the one aspect of the promise that awaits fulfillment.  It is the last and crowning work on the whole process of redemption.  It is, therefore, the object of the longing of hope that is in every saint.  The return of Christ: the resurrection of the body . . . and final judgment . . . the renewal of all things . . . eternal glory!

Generally speaking there are three views which seek to set forth the Scriptural truth of the second coming of Jesus and the kingdom He shall perfect.  These views differ according to the interpretation given to the word millennium (Latin – mille, one thousand; and annum, year).  This word occurs but six times in Scripture and each time it is found in the twentieth chapter of Revelation, an admittedly difficult and symbolical portion of the Word.  To the word millennium are added various prefixes (post-, pre-, and a-), thus designating a particular view in respect to the thousand years.  Premillennialism takes the millennium literally and maintains that Christ shall come, and then reign upon this earth for exactly one thousand years. Postmillennialism takes the word figuratively, denoting a long period of time belonging to the last part of this Christian era, and immediately prior to Christ’s appearing.  The Amillennialist also interprets the millennium symbolically, only he maintains that it refers to the whole of the Christian era.  We propose to call your attention to these positions in this series of three articles, subjecting them to the light of Scripture, in the hope they may be constructive to our faith and hope.  We will begin with a consideration of Postmillennialism.

It is well to let a Postmillennialist define his own position.  “Postmillennialism is that view of the last things which holds the kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the gospel and saving work of the Holy Spirit, that the world eventually will be Christianized, and that the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace, commonly called the millennium.” (L. Boettner)  This definition is representative of those who hold this view.  We wish to develop several of its elements that their implications be clearly before us.

Without any hesitancy, the Postmillennialist states that the majority of mankind is saved in Jesus Christ.  If this were not true in Old Testament times, if this were not true at the time of the apostles, it certainly shall not be true during the later age of the millennium.  He bases this contention on passages of Scripture which speak of the universality of salvation (Ps. 97:5, Mal. 1:11, Acts 13:47), the world as the object of redemption in Christ (John 1:29 and 3:16, I John 2:2), and especially upon Matthew 28:18-20 where Christ says:  “All authority hath been given me in heaven and on earth.  Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you:  and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  In this text he sees that Christ has both the ability and the right to Christianize the whole world.  Because of this promise of Christ, the number of the redeemed shall increase until it far surpasses the number of the lost.

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7 responses to AMILLENNIAL OPPOSITION TO POSTMILLENNIALISM

  1. Michael Seifert March 24, 2012 at 6:30

    It looks like another person interpreting the Bible from the lens of the newspaper.

    “Strangely it can be shown from the daily newspapers; one does not read of nations settling disputes by arbitration. The United Nations has already proved to be an expensive hoax. Wars continue, even in crease! One read of crime increasing geometrically, so that countless areas of this land (supposedly the most advanced and Christian, which will lead others to Christ) are unsafe for normal living. Movie ads and book reviews, student riots and strikes, all this shows the Christianizing of these areas has not begun. Nor will it ever happen anywhere near the optimistic levels described above. The past world wars plus numerous restricted wars should have shattered such optimism. Daily events continue to do so. The present time does not compare so favorably with the Middle Ages. Sin has increased, though it has perhaps taken a more subtle and “refined” form. Civilization may not be mistaken for gospel fruit.”

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. March 25, 2012 at 6:30

      This sort of analysis makes two fundamental errors: (1) Narrow-sampling; (2) Mistaken definition. Let me explain.

      Narrow-sampling occurs when we look only to the present and the current decline. Whereas we need to compare our situation with that of the first century Christians under Nero. As we promote the gospel on the Internet and elsewhere in freedom, we see that things have changed remarkably for the better. Would you prefer to live under Nero as a Christian or under the American Presidency?

      Mistaken definition occurs when we assume that postmillennialism is defined as if it says by the year 2012 the full victory of the gospel will be won. We believe that the gospel grows incrementally toward victory over time. Checking the newspapers will not affect postmillennialism — until the very last day of history.

  2. Jordan Dayoub March 27, 2012 at 6:30

    Mr. Kuiper says, “Jesus tells us here that the sign of His coming and the end of the world (simultaneous events) shall involve an increase in war, ethnic uprisings, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes.” By this the good reverend intimates that we are indeed living in the terminal generation. Problem: Jesus does not connect his first century coming on the clouds with the end of the “world” as it were, but rather the end of the “age” (Matt. 24:3). This is evidenced in the use of the word aeon/epoch (age) not “kosmos” (material earth) in the original language.

    Of the almost 200 nations in the world, very few at this moment are at war, in fact one would be hard pressed to think of at least five countries engaged in active war. In our world of globalism and disappearing ethnic distinctions, ethnic uprisings are also the exception not the rule of our day. We are the most well fed generation of humans to have ever lived and famine is increasingly scarce. Outbreaks of disease are quickly quarantined and the catastrophic effects of earthquakes continue to be minimized with advances in building technology. Is the world perfect? Far from it and there is much work to do, but Rev. Kuiper would do well to compare and contrast the world he lives in with that of his great-grand parents.

    This is a major problem I’ve noticed also with most ami

  3. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. March 29, 2012 at 6:30

    This is true in many respects. However: (1) In many places in the world, Christianity is safe and free to evangelize, unlike in the first century when it was founded. (2) Postmillennialism expects great victory before the end of history, and it is isn’t the end yet.

  4. Blaine Newton March 30, 2012 at 6:30

    I was surprised at just how weak this defense of amillennialism was. First of all, the vast majority of postmil believers are preterists in their understanding of Matt. 24 as well as the vast majority of the book of Revelation. The defenses for the preterist position have been articulated so many times and are easily accessible with even a cursory search. Therefore, I see no need to weary anyone by trying to defend it here, particularly since Rev. Kuiper did not give any interaction with it. We could even respond by citing books by Ken or Gary or others, as appropriate references that should be analyzed.

    Secondly, it’s a HUGE leap to compare an infant church in the 1st century with the latter state of the church. This has been a pervasive theme mentioned here by Ken and others giving comments. In the 1st century the church was in its infancy, and in many instances in the gospels Christ is speaking directly to the 12 disciples, instructing them so that they will be prepared for the significant role that awaits them following his death and resurrection and ascension. It should be obvious that during Jesus’ earthly ministry, that Jesus hadn’t yet accomplished redemption and, therefore, had not yet poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church following his ascension. His point, therefore, is irrelevant to the question, which is what will happen during and toward the end of the church age before Jesus returns.

    What seemed to stand out to me was the special pleading that we see at the end of the article. I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but maybe it’s Rev. Kuiper who should “put aside all private opinions, and let yourselves be guided by the Spirit and Word”. Why should any bible-believing postmillennialist be threatened by any of this?

  5. John L O’Neill April 7, 2012 at 6:30

    “. Postmillennialism takes the word figuratively, denoting a long period of time belonging to the last part of this Christian era, and immediately prior to Christ’s appearing. The Amillennialist also interprets the millennium symbolically, only he maintains that it refers to the whole of the Christian era”

    THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE SIGNIFICANTLY BETWEEN THESE TWO STATEMENTS…THE ONLY THING IS THAT THE AMILL. DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT ‘POST’ MEANS AFTER. aND THAT THEREFORE SINCE cHRIST CAN ONLY COME AFTER THE FIGURATIVE OR SYMBOLIC ERA HIS POSITION BY DEFAULT IS POST-MILLENIAL.

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