North, Millennialism And Social Theory, pp.239-240
10. Pietistic Postmillennialism
Millennialism And Social Theory, Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990, pp.238-248
1. Eschatology and the Millennium
2. What Is Social Theory?
3. Covenantal Progress
5. The Society of the Future
6. Time Enough
7. Denying God’s Predictable Sanctions in History
8. Historical Sanctions: An Inescapable Concept
9. The Sociology of Suffering
10. Pietistic Postmillennialism
11. Will God Disinherit Christ’s Church?
12. Our Blessed Earthly Hope in History
13. What Is to Be Done?
Appendix: The Lawyer and the Trust
For Further Reading
Postmillennialism is an ancient view of eschatology, going back at least to Eusebius (early 4th century). It was not, as is charged by dispensational theologians (though never by dispensational Church historians holding the Ph.D.), invented in the early eighteenth century by the Unitarian, Daniel Whitby. I mention this because it has been part of the dispensational apologetic to lie, decade after decade, about Whitby’s supposed inventing of postmillennialism. Because the dispensationalists’ rhetoric equates postmillennialism with theological liberalism (e.g., the late nineteenth-century social gospel movement), *1 it has been embarrassing for them to admit to their students that postmillennialism was pioneered in part by Augustine and John Calvin, and developed more fully by the Puritans of the seventeenth century. The Puritans were the most orthodox Protestants in history, so this creates a major problem for the dispensationalists when they try to equate liberalism and postmillennialism. Any time you see some author write that Whitby invented postmillennialism, you can be absolutely sure that this person has never studied Church history or the history of doctrine from a specialist in either field, unless he is a self-conscious, deliberate liar and dispensational propagandist who has decided to mislead his readers for the sake of “the cause.” *2(p.239)
*1:They seldom explain that the social gospel movement was a self-consciously secularization of postmillennialism, just as the Enlightenment’s optimism was. Liberalism has been successful because it borrowed from postmillennialism, not pessimillennialism. The liberals have understood that a vision of assured defeat is antithetical to the idea of cultural conquest. So have the pietists, who hate the very idea of cultural conquest, as we see in the writings of the English Baptist, Peter Masters: “May the Lord keep us all dedicated wholly to the work of the Gospel, and deliver us from taking an unbiblical interest in social affairs (especially out of frustration at the poor progress of our evangelistic labours!).” Masters, “World Dominion: The High Ambition of Reconstructionism,” Sword & Trowel (May 24, 1990), p.21. The humanist-pietist alliance continues. (p.239)
*2:This myth of Whitby as the founder of postmillennialism, while known to be false by the better-informed adherents of dispensationalism, is simply too tempting for some of them to resist, since it was what they were taught at Dallas Seminary way back when. House and Ice repeat it in their book, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1988), p.209. Kenneth Gentry, a former dispensationalist, shows in detail why this traditional myth of dispensational apologetics is historically false, and why anyone with the barest understanding of Church history would know it to be false: Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp.245-50, 253-54, 306-7. I had challenged Ice on this point several months before Dominion Theology appeared, in our debate in Dallas. Ice said absolutely nothing in response, yet he dishonestly repeated the myth in his book later in the year. (Audiotapes of this nationally broadcast radio debate are available from the Institute for Christian Economics.) The myth is repeated by Marvin Rosenthal, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson, 1990), p.50, and by David Allen Lewis in his book, Prophecy 2000 (Green Forest, Arkansas: New Leaf Press, 1990), p.275. Mr. Lewis cites as proof Dominion Theology. The myth is also promoted by Robert P. Lightner, Th.D., a professor at Dallas Seminary: The Last Days Handbook (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson, 1990), p.80. These authors are not well read in Church history. Professors House and Lightner have no excuse. (pp.239-240)