Many consult the newspapers and point out that the world is in a great moral and spiritual decline, which is antithetical to postmillennialism’s historical optimism. For instance, dispensationalist theologian Paul N. Benware responds against postmillennialism that “the idea that the world is getting better and better does not at all seem to be in line with reality. The evidence points rather to a world that is growing more and more wicked.” Postmillennialists are well aware of world conditions, and yet we continue with our optimistic outlook for the following reasons.
1. Such an objection employs a wrong method
The problem with this objection is that it selects too narrow a sample. We must be aware that when we consider the wider, historical long run, world circumstances and particularly conditions for the Christian Church have greatly improved since Christianity’s inception in the first century. We must recall the continuing Jewish persecution of the Church and the wider, more destructive Roman persecutions of the first three centuries. That is, taking into account the big picture, we must ask: Are Christians as a class today generally better off than were Christians as a class of the first two or three centuries? Are world conditions better today in Christian-influenced areas than they were in the first century under Nero? Anyone who is aware of the Roman persecutions against the early Church should understand that Christians today are in a much better situation in wider swaths of the earth today.
2. Such an objection involves an erroneous definition
We must note that nothing in the postmillennial definition requires either relentlessly forward progress or the kingdom’s reaching its highest advance by any particular date. The gradualistic postmillennialism I present in this book simply teaches that before the end the kingdom of God will reach world-dominating proportions. Thus, until history ends this argument cannot undermine the postmillennial hope. Glorious revivals may yet occur — as the postmillennialist expects.