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SIN AND THE POSTMILLENNIAL HOPE (2)

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  August 15, 2014 — 2 Comments
Sin

In my last blog article I began a brief consideration of the challenge: How can postmillennialism have a hope for the future in light of the total depravity of man? This is a reasonable challenge. Our eschatology must be compatible with out theology. One doctrine should not undermine another: “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Hal Lindsey complains that postmillennialists “rejected much of the Scripture as being literal and believed in the inherent goodness of man” (Lindsey, Late Great Planet Earth, 176). I would note, however, that postmillennialists do not believe in the inherent goodness of man, but Lindsey most definitely believes in the inherent weakness of the gospel. He believes that man’s sin successfully resists the gospel even to the end of history. Jonah also had a concern regarding the power of the gospel: he feared its power to save wicked, powerful Nineveh (Jon 1:2–3, 10; 3:2; 4:1–4).<!–more–>

Gary North notes the irony of the complaint that I am considering here. Anti-postmillennialists “believe that a postmillennial revival is inherently impossible because of the power of rebellious autonomous men. They have great faith in man — autonomous, unsaved man. He can thwart the plan of God. Autonomous man says “no” to God, and God supposedly chooses never to overcome this ‘no.’ So, it is in fact the critic of postmillennialism who has faith in autonomous man. He believes that unsaved mankind has such enormous power to do evil that God cannot or will not overcome evil in history by the Spirit-empowered gospel.” (North and DeMar, Christian Reconstruction, 63)


House Divided: Break-up of Dispensational Theology (by Ken Gentry)
A rebuttal to dispensationalism’s view of eschatology and God’s Law
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Though it is true that the “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9), yet the postmillennialist firmly believes that “God is greater than our heart” (1Jn 3:20). We are confident that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1Jn 4:4). After Christ’s resurrection the church receives the Spirit’s outpouring (Jn 7:39; Ac 2:33). And God promises that historical power is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zec 4:6).

 

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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.

2 responses to SIN AND THE POSTMILLENNIAL HOPE (2)

  1. Thanks for your blog and insightful comments. I love this website.
    Could you do a thumbnail sketch of your understanding of Satan’s work in history.

    My understanding is your that:
    1. Satan is a very powerful spiritual being created before God created man.
    2. Prior to Adam’s fall Satan led a angelic rebellion against God.
    3. Satan tempted Adam to sin in the Garden.
    4. In some sense when Adam sinned, the earth became Satan’s domain, and Satan gained a position in heaven?
    5. In one of the Gospels, Jesus sees Satan falling from heaven. Was that a vision/prophecy related to 70ad?
    6. So at Christ’s ascension in 30ad, Satan was thrown to the earth and attacked the followers of Christ through apostate Isreal and the Romans?
    7. Since 70ad, Satan has been totally bound or is he just unable to deceive the nations?
    8. At the end of history, God will through Satan into the lake of fire and good and evil will be forever separated.

    Any clarification or correction you can provide will be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Ken

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. August 18, 2014 at 6:30

      Thanks for reading, and for interacting. You have a good understanding of these basics regarding Satan. I would tweak a comment or two of yours. These tweaks are very brief, requiring much more discussion. But hopefully you will get the gist:

      Regarding your point 4: Satan’s position in heaven is apparently as follows: God is enthroned in heaven above as the world’s righteous ruler, lawgiver, and judge. Satan as an angel created by God for dwelling is heaven is allowed to come before God as a prosecuting attorney to bring charges against God’s people (e.g., Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Zech 3:1-2). The word “Satan” means “adversary” (and “devil” means “slanderer”).

      Regarding your point 5: Satan’s “falling from heaven like lightning” ultimately points to AD 70, but it also includes the ascension in AD 70 as the first step in that process. See my note on your point 6.

      Regarding your point 6: We must view Christ’s ascension as the beginning of a process that concludes with the judgment on Israel in AD 70. That is, Christ ascends to heaven in conquering Satan (Col 2:15), which victory is spiritually and legally won by Christ at that time, then historically demonstrated in the fall of Christianity’s first historical enemy, Israel (Mark 9:1).

      Regarding your point 7: Satan’s binding is defined in Rev 20 as resulting in his inability to deceive the nations anymore. That is, he can no longer keep the true knowledge of God confined to Israel, but since Christ’s victory in the ascension/destruction events the gospel begins vigorously making its way to the nations.

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