Three Things to Consider Before Becoming a Postmillennialist

This is not an exhaustive interaction with postmillennial views nor is it a textually-based argument against postmillennialism. My purpose is somewhat beside that. My purpose is simply to point out a few logical arguments about postmillennialism as a system. (So don’t email me asking me where my evidence or argumentation is. If you want an argument against, let me know and maybe I’ll do something in a later post.)

Postmillennialists are really good at poking holes in the arguments of the other positions but not so good at supporting their own.

This is probably the best reason to keep a postmillennialist handy: He’ll keep you on your toes. They have so very little evidence in favor of their position so they have to resort to critiquing the other positions and hope that people will forget (1) that negative arguments do not equal positive argument and (2) just because the other guy is wrong doesn’t make your position right by default. Still, we need someone who can see the errors in our own arguments that we’re not able to see.

Postmillennialism is like a good conspiracy theory: The more it takes to believe it, the stronger they think their case is.

They have arguments for their case, but every argument they make from every passage they choose goes just a little bit farther necessary to explain the text or answer the question. They take the long way around the barn when the point is simply to get to the other side. For example, Postmillennialists are the ones lobbying the hardest for a date of Revelation that is pre-AD 70. The other positions can do with either a pre-70 or a post-70 date (like the traditional 90’s dating), but they’ve got to have it to make sense of their (partial-but-almost-full-) preterist interpretation of Revelation. So they have to go to great lengths to support some view that no one thought was much of an issue before. Just like a good conspiracy theory requires you to believe more than is necessary to explain the data, so postmillennialism requires one to believe more than is necessary to support the view.

Popularity isn’t important but longevity and breadth of support carries some weight (or should).

I realize we don’t do theology by measuring how long a view has been held or how many have held it, but it seems that if postmillennialism was the right view, more Christians throughout history would have held it as a viable view (and it wouldn’t have taken 1600 or 1700 years for it to become a prominent view, if it can even be called prominent now). I realize that this is not really an argument for or against; such arguments would have to come from the text of Scripture. But the fact that we can’t find significant support from the great teachers throughout history, the fact that no major group has ever held to this view, and the fact that early Christian and Reformation leaders (except some in the Radical Reformation) did not discover this or teach this as a viable alternative to the other views ought to give one pause.

Conclusion

As I said, this is not a list of arguments against postmillennialism but these are some things we have to think about when considering postmillennialism as a system. They present some hurdles that will have to be overcome when doing theology of this type.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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4 Responses to Three Things to Consider Before Becoming a Postmillennialist

  1. DCorpus says:

    Pastor Michael,

    Since I can see that you are not a post-millenialist, I’d like to ask you what view you take of the end times or eschatology? Just so you know, I am not a post-millenialist either, but was just curious to see which view you take of the end times?

    • Hey, David! Thanks for reading and for commenting. I am historic premillennial. Postmillennialism interests me only because I was assigned postmillennialism as a position to defend in a debate in seminary and because it has seen an increase among some of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement since R. C. Sproul publicly identified with the position in the late 90’s. As my post implies, however, I do not see it as a viable eschatological option.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      • DCorpus says:

        Pastor Michael,

        Thanks for replying. I am very familiar with the pre-millenial view as I use to hold that view. Is there a difference between the pre-millenial view from historic pre-millenial? Thanks again for replying brother.

      • I’m sorry, I realized I never answered you. The view you are probably familiar with is Dispensational Premillennialism. This is the most widely-known view. Historical premillennialism is simply premillennialism without all the dispensational elements. So it lacks the Jewish flavor of Disp. Premill. Its proponents may or may not hold to a literal 1000 years and some do not believe in a seven-year tribulation period or only in the three-and-a-half years of great tribulation.

        The most recent book on it is <a href="A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to “Left Behind” Eschatology “>A Case for Historic Premillennialism by Blaising and Chung.

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