Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Eschatology - the most comfortable option

Guest blogger Mick Taylor continues his series on ‘the Last Days’

Post-millennialists are a happy, optimistic group.  Not surprising because this scheme teaches that the progress of the gospel will continue to grow until, through worldwide revival, the whole world is Christianised, so that while not everyone will become a Christian every culture will be dominated by Christian values and world view. Only after a period of extraordinary blessing and progress (the Millennium) will Christ return. They believe that during the Millennium Christ will reign through His church - not by His bodily presence. The Great Commission is a key text for those who hold this position. In Matt 28:18-20 it talks of making disciples of all nations, not just preaching to them.

This commission is not merely an announcement that the gospel will be preached but implies a promise that the effectual evangelisation of all the nations will be completed before Christ returns. (Loraine Boettner - The Meaning of the Millennium ed. Robert Clouse p118).

So the scheme in this view is


What is obviously missing here is tribulation. Some who hold this view would allow for a rebellion at the end of the Millennium but do not major on this. Others would argue that in fact the tribulation predicted in scripture was to do with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and other events of the first century. (Technically this is known as a Preterist view of prophecy). Given the choice, this would probably be every Christian’s preferred view but it is questionable if it does justice to the sense in scripture of a continuing tension and struggle between the kingdom of God and the forces of evil before the end which the scripture frequently underlines. Interestingly, Post-millennialism has often grown out of the experience of revival, so Jonathan Edwards, who was a key leader in the Great Awakening, held this view. As Iain Murray, in his book The Puritan Hope, makes clear, many of the English Puritans held this view too. Other proponents include B B Warfield and Loraine Boettner.

To be continued…