In his rebuttal to my postmillennialism, Prof. Robert Strimple (retired, Prof. of Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary), greatly misconstrues my postmillennial argument. We are debating in the Zondervan CounterPoint book Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. Due to the constraints in the book, I was not able to respond to his replies. But in this article I would like to briefly rebut a few of his charges against my argument.
First, Strimple complains that postmillennialism pales in comparison to amillennialism. In the last full paragraph on page 61 he provides a brief exposition of our eternal hope in the new heavens and earth. Then in the next paragraph he notes my postmillennial expectation of a “redeemed world system in the future” before Christ’s second coming, wherein “evil should be ‘reduced to negligible proportions.'” His very next sentence states: “If this is ‘the postmillennial hope,’ it contrasts poorly with the amillennial hope” (p. 62).
This is astounding! Strimple knows full well that both amillennialists and postmillennialists agree on the eternal glory that belongs to God’s people. He is comparing apples and oranges; he is contrasting the historical hope of postmillennialists before Christ comes with the eternal hope of amillennialists after Christ comes.
And once this problem is rectified, his statement becomes absolutely false, for he argues that in our temporal future we “cannot expect anything other than oppression and persecution” (p. 63), whereas postmillennialists expect a future wherein “righteousness will prevail and evil we be reduced to negligible proportions” (p. 62; see my historical expectations on pp. 22, 48, 49). Now which outlook on our pre-consummational future “contrasts poorly” with the other? Ask any Christian on the street which he believes “contrasts poorly” with the other: an earthly future of only oppression by the unrighteous; or an earthly future of holy dominion for the righteous.
Second, Strimple again misunderstands postmillennialism when he argues against it that we “have no enduring city here but look for one to come” (p. 64). What postmillennialist believes that this world will endure forever and that there will be no everlasting glory to come? The very highest advance of Christian culture over all the earth is temporal—it will end with the second advent (see discussion below: “The Dismissal of Christian Suffering.”
Third, Strimple mocks one of my arguments with this parenthetical observation: “So much for literalism!” (p. 65, n33). This, too, astounds me for two reasons: (1) He decries my lack of literalism, but I never claim to be a literalist—at least since I left dispensationalism. (2) In this very book Strimple himself rebukes premillennialists for literalism, when he writes: “Premillennialists insist that such passages are to be taken ‘literally'” (p. 84). Which is it: Should we avoid literalism or endorse it? Strimple’s argument giveth and it taketh away.