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OPTIMISTIC AMILL V. POSTMILL

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  Leave a comment
Optimism Pessimism

Here is a question I recently received. Perhaps you have thought the same:

Good afternoon, sir. I recently read an article by you in which you referred to the label “optimistic amill.” as an oxymoron. Could you please tell me why you think that? I’d be very thankful. I am currently working through these eschetalogical issues and any help you could give me would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your question. My comments are based on two factors:

1. Historically amillennialism has tended to be pessimistic in terms of the question of widespread, long-lasting cultural success for the Christian faith. That is, regarding these:

a) As a system of gospel proclamation it teaches that the gospel of Christ will not exercise any majority influence in the world before Christ’s return;

b) As a system of historical understanding it, in fact, holds the Bible teaches there are prophetically determined, irresistible trends downward toward chaos in the outworking and development of history; and therefore

b) As a system for the promotion of Christian discipleship it dissuades the Church from anticipating and laboring for wide-scale success in influencing the world for Christ during this age.

My debates with Strimple (Three Views on the Millennium), Gaffin (formal debate in Elkton, MD) and Fowler (in West. Theol. Jrnl.) confirm this to me.


Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (ed. by Darrell Bock)
Presents three views on the millennium: progressive dispensationalist,
amillennialist, and reconstructionist postmillennialist viewpoints.
Includes separate responses to each view
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


2. It seems to me that the verses an amill would want to use in order to underscore his optimism are those that endorse a postmillennial perspective. Unless, of course, he is optimistic on grounds other than direct biblical revelation.

Please understand that my comment is not meant to be pejorative (as some frequently take it). I am simply highlighting the key difference between amillennialism and postmillennialism.

Hope this is helpful. May the Lord bless your present studies in eschatology.

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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.

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