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MISUNDERSTANDING OF POSTMILLENNIALISM

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  3 Comments

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.

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

3 responses to MISUNDERSTANDING OF POSTMILLENNIALISM

  1. I think the person in your article understands , I believe he is telling his people that stuff , and that will keep them looking at our view which makes so much since . Thank you for all that you do .

  2. Prof. Strimple seems to be grasping at straws.

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