Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1998
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 4: Disciplinary Truths of God’s Kingdom
Appendix: The Millennial Issue
Lesson 102 – Millennial Issues: Pre-, A-, Post-Millennialism
22 Oct 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We are on eschatology and again I can’t remind us enough that what we’re really talking about is the completion of God’s plan in history, and it’s not just peripheral but the amil, premil, postmil, whatever your eschatology is, it has to do with the separation of good and evil; how historically is that to take place? It’s part and parcel to the Christian worldview that’s resolution, moral and ethical resolution to history. If there isn’t, then the Christian’s position falls apart. So that’s part and parcel of the whole thing. It’s just as much a part of the Christian message as the gospel of Christ. There’s got to be a historic resolution to the good/evil problem. Eschatology is the doctrine of future things which fills in how that takes place.
The thing to remember as a Christian is that on the pagan basis there is no future. Let me say that again, on a pagan basis, the basis of unbelief, there is no future in the sense that nothing is resolved. There’s no future resolution in history. The problem is that… you’ll meet optimistic unbelievers, oh everything is going to turn out all right. Well, how do you know that everything is going to turn out all right if you’re this finite person walking around with finite brains, finite thinking, where are you getting this information that says everything is going to come out all right. You have to have a total view of history to be able to make such a statement. So people who make that statement outside of the Scripture, outside of the Bible, are basically subjectivists. It’s nothing more than a wish; if it’s not grounded on any object of fact then it has no basis. How does a finite mind ever conclude what the termination of history is all about? Only in the Scripture do we even concern ourselves with eschatology.
We made the point earlier that there are apparent eschatologies in paganism, and we named two, two in this century that have preoccupied millions of people and billions have been spent in military schools to handle them. One is the eschatology of communism; the other is the eschatology of the Third Reich. Think about it, “Third Reich,” what does that mean, the third—the third one in the sequence, and those pagan eschatologies came out of Christianity. That’s one of the great ironies of history. In order to get an eschatology, the non-Christian has to come to the Christian and borrow it. This is what Marx did, he borrowed it, and what the Nazis did, they borrowed it. It’s a case that we spoke of; I think when we were talking about creation, that the non-believer, the mind of the flesh operates on Christian capital. It’s borrowed capital. This is why it’s so ironic when I hear educators talk about excluding the Bible from the classroom, like it’s some sort of contaminated thing, it’s radioactive or something. They’re talking about we’re going to educate in the middle of this so-called neutral zone. The problem with that is that logic makes no sense outside of Scripture. Facts can’t even be distinguished outside of Scripture. For anyone to think logically they’re borrowing Biblical capital and then turning around and denying it’s the Bible.
If I were in a faculty lounge I would like to find one or two of these people that are the real gung ho secularists and I would love to ask them some questions on where do you get your judgments from, where do you get your eschatology from, where do you get your logic from? Excuse me, but how does your logic machine work apart from the Scripture. So when we come to eschatology you’ll see it’s borrowed. Whenever you see anybody talking about progress in history, or is optimistic about history, they’re borrowing from the Scripture, or they’re naïve sentimentalists.
Let’s think about four questions, just quiz questions to kind of get back into things. Concerning the Kingdom of God as it’s looked at in the Old Testament, we’ve gone through the Old Testament, we’ve come down to the end of the kingdom of the Old Testament, and it was during those days when God outlined His discipline, His disciplinary nature, and He sent them into exile. This is how the Old Testament ended, and it was talking about this future, far off kingdom. What we want to examine the question of the nature of the kingdom.
The first thing we want to think about tonight (this is kind of a quiz) is: what was the debate about before Christ concerning the Kingdom of God. Before Messiah even got involved into the thing, before we even get to the New Testament, we opened this chapter and said that the controversy began before Jesus. The controversy was over the nature of the Kingdom of God. So what was the controversy about? The controversy was basically this: is this future Kingdom of God something that is going to be part of immortal history in eternity, or is the Kingdom of God going to have some manifestation in the final age of history, inside mortal history.
Let’s define the terms again. What’s the difference between immortal history and mortal history? Immortal history is resurrection; immortal history is characterized in terms of this chart, as this period, when good and evil are permanently separated, never to conjoin again. Why is that? Because repentance can’t happen to immortals. Think about it. Can Satan repent? Can Michael the archangel repent? Go the other way. Something has happened in the angelic realm to freeze it up. The sides have been chosen, and they are not to be changed. It’s locked up. Now when resurrection occurs that’s when this locking up occurs with people. That’s why there’s a resurrection unto life and a resurrection unto damnation. What is that saying? It’s saying no more repentance, no more grace, the former things have passed away, and we are now locked as good and evil.
The question then comes, can you have a Kingdom of God, we know we have the Kingdom of God here, where good is permanently there never to fall back; the debate before Jesus was can you have the Kingdom of God manifest here, while repentance is still possible. Can you have this mix? What we said was that when we came to Jesus, when we came to Christ, what happens, how did He end His career? He rose from the dead. Now we’ve got an interesting state of affairs. We have one human being, a member of the human race, who has risen from the dead, and everybody else hasn’t. Then we have the situation when in the last hours before He ascended from the mount of ascension, what did Jesus do? He walked around and talked to people. He ate food with them. He appeared and disappeared in the middle of people’s houses. He had fellowship with people.
So we have a strange thing, never before occurring in human history, where an immortal coexists with a mortal. On the Emmaus road you have a resurrected immortal human being walking about three feet away from a mortal fallen human being, not yet resurrected. We have coexistence, this strange thing, this coexistence of mortal creatures with immortal creatures. Christ is beyond, in His personal life He is here, but He also is able to walk here. The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ in the closing hours before the ascension could coexist and walk around with mortal flesh shows in a mini version that mortality can coexist, in fact, with immortality, strange though it may sound.
We come to the three viewpoints and we defined them in terms of that chart, I’d like to review that, on page 2. We want to remember when you look at this chart that’s the way it looks to us now. The a-, the pre-, and the post-, have to do with getting Christ into the picture. But the argument itself isn’t necessarily the return of Christ; it’s the nature of this kingdom that’s the issue. So we have the premillennial view. Look at the premil, amil, and postmil and let’s review some questions here. What is common to the premil and the postmil view? What is common to both of those positions? Triumphant Kingdom of God occurs this side of eternity. So both postmillennialism and premillennialism insist, just like Jesus walked around in the resurrection, that you can have a Kingdom of God this side of the end of history. The amillennial view says no you can’t, you don’t have that.
What is common to both the amil and the postmil? These two views historically have intermixed; the amil and the postmil historically have floated between each other. In fact postmillennialist will often tell you that he’s nothing more than an optimistic amillennialist. And sometimes he’ll make some derisive remark about the pessimist being the amil. What is common to both of those? Christ’s return is the same thing as the ending of history. The next event, the next climactic event is the end of history, whereas in the premil position you’ll see that Christ’s return is separated by at least a thousand years from the end of history. Looked at another way, which of the three views has the most complicated version of the return of Christ? Premillennialism. In premillennialism the return of Christ is stretched out and spread over a number of factors, a number of segments, a number of phases. So that’s the views.
Which of these three views was the view that was most prevalent down through church history that mostly occupies Roman Catholic circles, and occupied the Protestant Reformation by and large? It was the amillennial position. Which view was always accused in church history of being very Jewish, and which view was it that wanted to be excluded. It was the premillennial view.
Let’s think about some of the extreme forms, the bad things that maybe came out of these three views. I want to review these because these ideas have powerful consequences. They’re not just trivial, peripheral, trivial questions. These ideas shape how we see ourselves today; it places us into history. So the premillennial view has a catastrophic revolutionary type of idea of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is so utterly different that it’s introduced catastrophically. What’s a human flesh version of that? Of a crisis and a catastrophe that introduces the perfect state? The idea of a social revolution. The French Revolution, the communist revolution, the idea you have to have, not just a revolution like in America over separation of powers or something, but a revolution in the French sense, or in the communist sense, was a destruction of all human institutions, period. The Marxists’ argued that you couldn’t get rid of evil from history unless you had a radical revolution. Why was that? Because he saw that evil was imbedded in human institutions. So in trying to thrash away from all of this, they decide to scrub the human institutions, get rid of marriage, get rid of family, get rid of the state, get rid of all these things, because evil is part and parcel of them. And we have this vision of the future.
What did I say about that? This is an unbeliever thing, Marx, pagan. What do we immediately know about this guy? He’s borrowing the image of the perfect future from us. He’s a thief, this is the intellectual property of the Holy Spirit, that’s being taken away from the Scriptures and paganized. So in order to deal with evil and give people hope, you take that hope, borrow from the Scripture, hide it under a new label so people won’t really know where you got it from, and then parade it forth as your great new idea. This is the Marxist concept of a revolutionary introduction of this future proletariat state, this utopia. Where you have radical views of utopia, those tend to be fleshy, worksy, aberrations of premillennialism.
Now let’s go to the amil and the postmil. Both of those attribute the Kingdom of God to the church or to Israel. If they attribute that to the church, what then does that do to the thinking of the place of the Jew? Both of these views take something away from the Jew and they take away the linear progress from the Jewish nation Israel into this kingdom. The church has now replaced the nation Israel and it’s but a short step then to justify anti-Semitism, so both have bred historically anti-Semitic cultures. That’s why Germany was so anti-Semitic. France is anti-Semitic, one country’s Catholic, the other one is half Catholic and kind of a bastard version of the Reformation. This is what spawned historically in Europe anti-Semitism. These ideas have consequences.
Tonight we want to go to page 7 and look at some of the features, just review a couple of the features of amillennialism. Remember “a” means no millennium, and it basically says that we will have history pretty much like we have it today, all the way on down to the return of Christ, who then ushers in eternity. That’s the view. One of the features of that view is that it has to take those prophecies of the physical, mortal kingdom, and do something with them. And what it does to them is it tends to allegorize this physical, mortal kingdom. For example, amillennialists insist that when one deals with prophetic portions of the Bible the allegorical method is proper. They point to passages like Galatians 3:25-26; Hebrews 12:22.
Turn to Hebrews 12:22, this is a good example of how an amillennialist would approach Scripture. He would say, referring to this verse, don’t you see that the Old Testament way of looking at things, that was just spiritual, it’s got to be spiritualized, it applies to the Church, what does it say here?
“You have come to Mount Zion,” have we come to the physical Mount Zion? He says no, this is just a figure of speech, “and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,” see it’s all heavenly, this is all spiritual. That’s their position, that’s kind of how they take the passages in the Old Testament.
Furthermore, one of their objections, which for quite some time was a very powerful objection, was that you have prophecies about Assyria, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Philistia, and all these nations and they’re extinct. Well if they’re extinct, then obviously how do you interpret the prophecy about them if these nations are extinct? These prophecies can’t be fulfilled, can they? So that’s the position of the amillennialist in this area.
Page 8, I went over the treatment of Revelation 19, we went through Jay Adams commentary on this, that it’s pictured as an “emblem,” that Christ coming on the horse is a picture of spiritual war in the here and now. Obviously if that’s here and now, and Christ has put Satan away and that’s here and now, as I say in the sentences under Adam’s quote, “Revelation 19:11-21 depicts the spiritual victory Christ wins through His Church” now, not in the future, but through His Church now. “Revelation 20:7-15 then portrays the actual Second Advent of Christ,” so that would mean that Satan has been bound today. Well in what sense is Satan bound today? That’s one of the problems of amillennialism. How do you define that area?
The second feature is that the Kingdom of God will not triumph over history. In Isaiah 65:17, that’s the passage where the wolf and the lamb coexist [v. 25], it speaks of the new heavens and the new earth; just like the book of Revelation, we saw the new heavens and new earth through eternity. Since that’s eternity it must mean that the Kingdom of God doesn’t triumph over mortal history now, it only triumphs when there’s a new heavens and a new earth, and that’s the future state. 2 Peter 3:13 describes the state after a big catastrophe. So they pick a verse, they say the way to do it is with a very simple view, eternity begins here, here is the new heavens and the new earth, here’s Christ’s return, it’s all part of one thing, you can’t break it up into little pieces, it’s all together, lumped into one.
Turn to page 9, and to Matthew 13:10 in the Bible, they say more evidence of this position; that’s what Jesus was doing. When you study the Gospels in the New Testament, one thing that strikes you, try to read through a Gospel through in one sitting, just try to read it fast and get the big picture, don’t get all involved in details. If you do that to all four Gospels you’ll see that halfway through all four Gospels something happens before Jesus is crucified or any of that happens. Jesus starts out His ministry, He preaches to the masses, there is a response, there’s controversy, and then in all four Gospels Jesus does something interesting. Halfway through His ministry He begins to kind of talk in a different tone. Halfway through His ministry He begins to talk about that He’s going to die, and the cycle just doesn’t click, they’re not seeing this. Then He begins to redefine things. Matthew 13:10 is one of those places. He’s just got through talking about the soil.
By the way, in Matthew 12 He’s had a big argument. He’s talking about the unpardonable sin, verses 30-31. Who has He just had a confrontation with in Matthew 12? The Pharisees. Have they welcomed Him or are they rejecting Him? They’re rejecting Him. So at this halfway point through all four Gospels, the leadership of the country of Israel starts to reject the Messiah. When the leadership of Israel begins to reject the Messiah, we have this halfway response; in Matthew 13 He changes His teaching. “And the disciples came” to Him “and said, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’  And He answered and said to them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.  For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.  Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.’” Then He quotes the prophecy of Isaiah.
The key is in verse 11, notice the phrase, “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” The “mysteries,” here say the amil is where Jesus is really defining what this Kingdom of God is all about, it’s a mysterious thing, it’s an unseen thing, it’s something that’s purely spiritual and not political and physical. And it was wrong for that nation to assume that when Christ announced He was Messiah He was talking about politics. He was talking about an inner transformation of character, say the amillennials. Therefore, they say, here’s our New Testament precedent for interpreting the Kingdom of Heaven as something merely spiritual and not outward and physical in this mortal age. To be granted, yes, it’ll have a physical form but the physical form is in immortal eternity, not now; now the only version of the Kingdom of God you can have is this mystery form of the Kingdom. That was they have basically taken their leave from.
Then on page 9 I list the third thing, that “Evil will not be reduced greatly before Christ’s return.” Follow with me, “Since amillennialism agrees with premillennialism against postmillennialism concerning victory over evil during the Church Age, the major arguments given above will not be repeated here. Jay Adams, an amillennialist professor of counseling, expresses his disagreement with postmillennial ideas of a pre-advent golden age on earth.” Jay Adams has this great quote, “The sin and consequent problems among Christians prove that such a society would be far from golden.” That’s his argument why we do not have the Kingdom of God today, he’s an amil, and we’re not going to have the Kingdom of God today, not inside mortal history. Why is that? What’s the feature of a mortal versus an immortal? Mortal people can do what that immortal people can’t? Repent, change the orientation, switch sides. Immortals can’t do that. So while you have a population that can switch sides, you can’t have a secure kingdom, say the amils.
“Amillennialism has one additional problem at this point that premillennialism doesn’t have and that concerns the ‘binding of Satan.’ If Revelation 20 refers to the Church Age and not to a future millennium, then in what sense is Satan bound today? Amillennialists reply that this binding is the same kind of binding that is mentioned in Matthew 12:29,” the casting out of demons and that sort of thing, “and that is implied in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, i.e., the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit.” They equate the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit with Satan.
We come to postmillennialism. Postmillennialism is another view. It treats this end of history the same. Christ comes, new heavens and a new earth, eternity begins, but it does something, it (quote) “takes seriously” the idea of progress in history and says that things are getting better and better and better, until Christ comes back. There is a progress in history. The gospel has power to transform not just individuals but society. We want to look at this and as I said, postmillennialism is coming in very strong; it’s amazing. Twenty years ago postmillennialism was almost to be studied in theology classes kind of like a museum piece of what people did in the 19th century. It was very strong in the mid-19th century. The place where postmillennialism flourished is this country, and we’ll see that. It became extremely prevalent after the Civil War in this country.
Let me introduce it to you, I want to go to two hymns that we sing and I want to show you the postmillennialism of those hymns. I’ll give you some Jewish history and Christian history. What do we say in postmillennialism, where is Christ located with respect to this Kingdom of God in history? Down here, so if I am here walking around, there’s no big event between you, here we are, there’s no catastrophic event that separates us from walking into the Kingdom. Whereas in premillennialism there is, there’s the Second Advent of Christ.
In postmillennialism: “Jewish history,” here’s where it started. In “the Sinaitic Covenant the promised conquest and dominion to Israel,” wasn’t it there, remember, didn’t God promise to give the land of Canaan to Israel, and didn’t He promise to drive out all, or some? ALL the nations. Could they have had a kingdom in their day had they obedient? Yes. So in a sense at Sinai it was sort of like an open postmillennialism, it’s wrong to say that because it didn’t get complicated, Christ wasn’t involved in the picture, but as far as the kingdom was concerned they could have walked in and taken it had they been obedient. Let me say that again, “had they been obedient,” and that’s the key in postmillennialism. You’ve got to have the obedience necessary to get the kingdom. That was what was offered to Israel at Sinai. “The book of Judges” however, “revealed God’s sentence of doom regarding such a kingdom for Israel.” Remember Judges 2, what did it say? I’m going to stop, I’m not going to drive them out any more, you people haven’t got the word, you won’t obey Me, you won’t make Me your King, you want to mess around and get your own king, fine, let him go conquer it, but I’m not going to do it for you.
“In the following monarchial period of Jewish history, as we saw in the previous chapters of this Part IV, not only did the people fail to be faithful but their leaders and kings also” failed to be faithful. This is why I say understand the Old Testament and it will straighten out things in the New Testament. What was the lesson we learned about the Kingdom in the Old Testament? It couldn’t come because of two things, the failure of the people, Judges and during the conquest the failure of the kings and the leaders, Daniel and Kings. So the question is, if you’re going to get the Kingdom today, what have you got going today that you didn’t have back then?
“Christian history: In Christian circles, the idea of the Kingdom coming into history prior to Jesus’ return was mingled with” amillennialism with Augustine. Let’s get church history, we’re going to have lessons in church history today, I’m not an expert in church history. Let’s view church history as sort of broken up into 500 year segments; 500, 1000, 1500, the Reformation right here.
Here’s the period, Augustine. Without a doubt, this man was the most powerful intellect of the Christian church in the first half of church history. No one comes close to Augustine. It’s sad, but no one today reads this guy’s books. Two classic books that Augustine wrote that every Christian to be a well-read Christian you should read. One is his Confessions; the other one is his book called the City of God. His Confessions is an autobiography of how he came to know Jesus Christ.
Augustine was a party guy, he went off and raised hell in Rome, left his mother. His mother was very, very upset, she prayed for years for this guy. This guy was a renegade son, prodigal son. He went to Rome; he was involved in fornication, drinking, alcohol, the whole nine yards. Then one day he was at a party and he saw a little scrip of paper blow across his foot, and he heard a voice say take and read. Do you know what this scrip of paper was? Part of the epistle of Romans. It’s an amazing story. So in Augustine’s Confession read how the Holy Spirit brought to Himself one of the druggies, potheads, of the time, before he fried his brain, he could think, and redeemed that man’s life, changed him into a great towering intellect of the Christian church.
But like all men, he was part of his time and we’re not ever sanctified enough to separate completely from the time in which we live. Augustine brought Neo-platonism into the church. The reason for that was back here, prior to Jesus’ day there was a Greek philosopher named Plato. Plato was probably the greatest philosopher who ever lived. That’s why John Whitehead, in his writings at the beginning of the century said that “western philosophy is a footnote to Plato,” because all the issue he defined. Plato said you can’t have truth unless you have absolutes of some sort. He didn’t know where to put the absolutes, he couldn’t find a location for the absolutes, but he recognized that if you’re going to float you have lost truth and morality. So Plato was a very attractive person to borrow ideas from. So here’s Augustine out here with a lot of the other church fathers fighting paganism, and they went back in time to pick up ideas out of Plato to use to attack the unbelief of their society.
The problem was, when they went back to Plato, instead of critiquing Plato and running him through a spiritual grid, the Scripture, they sort of borrowed him wholesale and took everything of Plato. It’s like a Trojan horse they brought inside the Christian church was the idea that matter is kind of loose and not really true, it’s sort of a source of sin, that sort of thing. Here’s an example of Plato’s reasoning. If you have a paper and pencil and you want to draw a triangle, can you ever draw a perfect one? If you take a ruler and a protractor, a compass, can you draw a perfect triangle, and the answer is no you can’t because the pencil lead will screw up, it’ll never be a perfect triangle. Well then Plato is asking the question, then where do we get the idea of a triangle from? We’re not getting it from the paper and pencil, it comes from here. So there is an idea up here of a perfect triangle, but you never can find one. This was one of the big ideas that the real true truth is somehow in this intellectual world, but it’s not down in this world because this world doesn’t have real triangles, real circles. But you have the idea of it, the idea is there, you know what you’re looking for, you just never can get to it. So that was the idea applied to the Kingdom.
Think about what Augustine did here. If you can’t find real good triangles in the world, and you can’t find perfect circles in the world, you can’t find perfect righteousness in the world either. So it’s an idea in our heads, but you never can get to it in this history. So the Kingdom of God has got to be something else than the present history, so that predisposed things. However, Augustine was also Biblical enough to have borrowed another idea from the Bible along with Plato. See what’s going on here—an idea from here and an idea from here, and they wove them together. The idea that they borrowed from Scripture was the idea of progress. You have progress toward the Kingdom so you had kind of a postmillennialism. He was an optimistic amil.
On page 10, postmillennialism becomes more serious. For the rest of the class we’re going to go through postmillennialism as it has come to us now. “The first real postmillennial statement, however, in the modern sense of the word, was made in the” 12th century by a Roman Catholic. Here’s a little historical tidbit. Roman Catholicism had a problem with the Protestants. Here’s 1500. What do you think the Protestant Reformers were doing with the book of Revelation and the Pope? In the book of Revelation there’s something called the whore who sits on seven hills. How do you think the Reformists took that? That was the Roman Catholic Church. Babylon in the book of Revelation is the Roman Catholic Church, the whore. So the Protestant Reformers made the identification between Babylon and the Catholic Church. What happens to the Roman Catholic Church if you take this identification in the book of Revelation? It gets crushed and smashed.
Obviously what happened after the Protestant Reformation was what do we call the movement against the Protestants by the Catholics? The Counter Reformation. And in the days of the Counter Reformation Catholic scholars were trying to figure a way they could blunt that identification. They devised a scheme—postmillennialism, because in postmillennialism they could take a lot of those judgmental passages and move them back in time to get them out of the way, and then have progress to the Kingdom. We’ll see how that has come about.
However, it’s true that some godly men have been postmillennialists. For example, I list some: Jonathan Edwards was a postmillennialist. Time Magazine once called Jonathan Edwards one of the greatest intellects the United States of America has ever produced, the guy that used to sit around and read his sermons and mumble, and became President of Princeton. And he was so formidable that no unbelieving faculty member dared take him on. That’s how powerful this guy was; a quiet guy, never yelled apparently. His famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he even read that thing four or five times and people fell asleep, and then one day he read it and the church fell apart. That was the revival starting in New England. So he’s a very interesting character. If you ever get a chance to read, it’s a neat biography. These are some guys that are really some fantastic people.
Postmillennialists in America later on would be B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, and R. J. Rushdoony, who is one of the Christian Reconstructionists, a very good scholar, I have known him personally, he has done a lot in the Christian school movement, he has written a book that is a classic in his field, if you are a teacher you ought to at least be aware of this book, it’s called The Messianic Character of American Education, one of the finest biblical critiques of educational theory ever written. He goes through and he takes every single one of the theoreticians in the 20th century that have addressed the issue of education and shows their pagan leaning, and why they are having a counterfeit Messianic Kingdom. However, he’s an ardent postmillennialist.
Writing in the 1970s, this is 40+ years ago, here’s what he wrote: “Postmillennialism once turned this country around. First, it established it, with the Puritans.” That’s not really true, the Puritans were a mixture, there were some premils. By the way, one of the Puritans was the guy that caused the revolution in England. In fact, the Puritans in England were sometimes called the Fifth Monarchy Movement. Think why they were called the Fifth Monarchy Movement. What’s the fifth monarchy? What are the four monarchies in Daniel? Kids learn this in history, the ones that study history; they study the Fifth Monarchy Movement. Nobody told me what the Fifth Monarchy Movement was, they just said memorize it, you’re going to get a quiz on it on Monday. All right, I memorized it, quizzed on Monday and forgot it on Thursday. Nobody bothered to tell me what it was all about. The Fifth Monarchy was taken from the book of Daniel, these guys aren’t stupid. The Puritans were well-read Englishmen who knew their Bibles. And when they said they are The Fifth Monarchy movement, they meant they are preparing for that Fifth Monarchy. That’s what he’s talking about here.
“Postmillennialism once turned this country around. First, it established it, with the Puritans. Then with the new Puritans, Bellamy and Hopkins (two Puritan leaders very responsible for the War of Independence) and their followers it turned (the country) around again, and we gained our freedom…. William Johnson said of Bellamy and Hopkins, ‘Merely a handful and merely religious.’ And yet, in about three decades, they had conquered the churches and the government positions in the Colonies. Three decades will take us to the end of the century, and to a different society. Why? Because we are the one with no blocked future….”
Of course we are at the end of the thing and we don’t see any redeemed society, and that’s always the problem. Postmillennialism never verifies. But do notice the comment, and you might want to circle the word, because this is their accusation against premillennialism, that we have a “blocked future,” because we are pessimists, we are sitting around waiting for the Second Advent, and that’s what they see harmful about us, that we are not aggressive enough, we are not dynamic enough, we do not claim enough for the Lord.
“However, just as premillennialism had its radicals,” please notice this paragraph because I want to fill you in on church history a little bit here. We’re now coming through the 1800s to the 1900s in this country. Here’s the Civil War. Something happened in this country right about here. Starting about 1850 and running through 1930 a tremendous revolution in this country occurred. Higher criticism swept every pulpit in America. Unbelief crept into the pulpits, and it was all this… [blank spot] … of the picture of goodness that the Scripture gives us. Now herein is a miracle, it was written by men, we can’t stand its authority, but we just love the social results of its message. So what happened here was, “during the 19th century, social reform movements such as freeing the slaves and welfare for the urban impoverished,” this is where missions, inner city missions began, “let to what became known as the ‘Social Gospel.’ While much of the impetus for these reforms came from evangelical Christians,” notice this and underline it, “the impetus came from evangelical Christians.” Why? What did I say about borrowed capital? The impetus came out of the Scriptures originally. “… soon unbelieving and liberal elements took them over,” took over the social works. “Having capitulated to pagan unbelief, higher criticism of the Bible, and the overthrow of Christian orthodoxy, the new Social Gospel leaders still realized that it was the evangelical orthodox people who”—did what?—“donated the money and the time which they desperately needed.”
Follow the money, it’ll always lead you home, and it’s no different in theology. Here’s the problem these guys had. They didn’t believe the Bible, but the people who gave money did believe the Bible. So now what are they going to do? Get in the pulpit and use the good-sounding words and don’t mean a thing behind them. The rise of the biggest rip-off the Church has ever seen. Liberalism came in and you had men talking about God and how sweet it was to help the poor and all the rest of it, and they didn’t have a clue about the gospel, didn’t care about Christ, didn’t care or accept the authority of the Scripture, but after all, who pays their salary. What am I going to do if I tell these people I don’t believe, I’m going to get fired, so we don’t tell the congregation we don’t believe the Scripture, we can’t be that honest, after all, my salary is at stake. So we’re going to preach this thing that sounds somewhat like the gospel, so we can keep our programs going because these people will still give us the money.
Next paragraph, see what happened: They saw that a postmillennial viewpoint had to be kept alive,” because remember, some of these evangelicals were postmils at this point. That’s what gave them impetus. I’ve got a hymn book here. Let me show you a good example of it. Turn to two famous hymns, both written ages ago. One is by Isaac Watts. Isaac Watts is a strange guy, sometimes he sounds like a premil, and other times he sounds like a postmil. He flips from different songs to different songs. He was eschatologically unstable. Look at Joy to the World, the second stanza, “Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns!” what seemingly is the Kingdom is here, the Savior is reigning. “Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains, Repeat the sounding joy,” in other words, the earth is reverberating to the presence of the King. This is a picture from Isaiah, but the premillennialist would say the earth reverberates to the presence of the King during the millennium, not now. Third stanza, “No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground.” When did thorns come in? With the curse. Has the curse been repealed? But this is what this song says, because the vision of the song is the Kingdom of God. “Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow, Far as the curse is found,” is He eventually going to do that? Absolutely, the question is in which stage of the progress are we?
Turn to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. This was done during the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe. Mrs. Howe was a postmillennialist, as you can tell by the way she set up these lyrics. She’s looking at the union forces here. What social movement are we immediately involved with? The freeing of the slaves. We’re not knocking the social gospel; I just want you to see how the social effects of these reformers was driven by postmillennialism. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” where has she seen that? Because “He’s trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” Do you know where she’s getting that quote from? The book of Revelation, the story of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. But Julia Ward Howe says she’s seeing it in the campfires of the union army in the middle of the Civil War. “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored,” it’s not bad that she sees this progress here, I’m not knocking that, I’m just trying to show you the connection between postmillennialism and social reform. “He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword—His truth is marching on.” Notice in stanza 4, “In the beauty of the lilies,” that’s true, “Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom,” that’s perfect valid theology, “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,” perfectly fine, “While God is marching on.” But it’s the concept that the Kingdom is coming.
On page 10, my remark, “They saw a postmillennial viewpoint had to be kept alive.” Why did you have to keep a postmillennial view alive? Because it created hope that you could walk now, unhindered, there is no blocked future into this kingdom. “The threat to the social gospel,” look at this, here’s a point of church history. Here’s the social gospel and about 1870 something begins to happen in this country, five years after the Civil War. The threat to the social gospel “they realized, was the growing premillennialism in the churches at the beginning of the 20th century.” Of course it had started back in 1870, that date comes from the note I showed you when we were talking about West got up in a prophecy conference, I made the comment about all denominations, it wasn’t just some Bible group in a store front, this was the main denominations in 1878, had premillennial scholars in it.
“A leading scholar for the liberal social gospel was Walter Rauschenbusch,” he was a nice liberal Baptist, “who blamed premillennialism as an obstruction to social reform. University of Chicago professor Shirley Jackson Case wrote, ‘(Postmillennialists) do not look for early relief through the sudden coming of Christ. On the contrary, they expect a gradual and increasing success of Christianity in the present world until ideal conditions are finally realized. Then will follow the millennium….” You can sit here and laugh at that, but that’s what these people were saying in the 19th century. What horrible experiences separate them from us in history? World War I, World War II, the atom bomb. We’re not so optimistic; they were. This was their world. Look at this quote, “Alarmed at the effect the premillennial Scofield Bible was having in America” Scofield was a lawyer, became a Christian, and began to teach the Word of God and he put out the Scofield Bible which some people knock.
The point was, the Scofield Bible was published about 1911, somewhere in there, and what it did was this. In the pulpits you had these guys with their doctorates from Germany yak, yak, yakking Christian vocabulary, with a nice liberal theology. People kind of felt something was going on that was wrong. What did Scofield do that gave a weapon to the congregation? He gave them a study Bible. Now what? The mud hit the fan, because now Sunday school teachers are preparing lessons out of the Scofield Bible. Oh, oh, the Scofield Bible is premillennial. The Scofield Bible is talking about a literal return of Jesus Christ and these Sunday School teachers are coming with all this Bible verse stuff. So now the liberals are outgunned because their educational system has been caught off guard by the introduction of all these study Bibles. So here’s this poor guy up here trying to defend his salary to thousands of people out in the congregation that are now reading their Bibles, that are listening carefully when he says I’m not sure whether Jesus was God the Son or not. All of a sudden lights are going on in the congregation. All of a sudden there’s a little issue involved here, excuse me, what are you doing here teaching, this sounds like apostasy to me.
So look at the complaint this guy makes, an actual quote from his writings, “…Chester McCown complained, ‘the nerve of active Christian endeavor is in danger of being slowly paralyzed.’ ” Remember the Christian Endeavor Society, that kind of thing, this is a word that was used around the 1900s, “ ‘the nerve of active Christian endeavor is in danger of being slowly paralyzed.’ ” By what? The Scofield Bible, that’s what. Why is that? Because it taught premillennialism. Remember what I said? What does premillennialism say? Can you get to the Kingdom straight line? No. It requires an intervention catastrophically by the Lord Jesus Christ. That impacts.
Here are the features of postmillennialism. We’ll only cover one. Postmillennialism agrees with amillennialism that Christ’s return ends history. On page 11, “Postmillennialists are best known for their insistence that evil will be conquered before Christ returns based upon the grace available from His first advent … the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ is to occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace.” They were active in church missionary work, they did not dominate church missions, however; that’s what they would like you to believe. Premils were the missionaries.
“To postmillennialists the great commission of Matthew 28:18-19,” that’s to preach the gospel to all the nations, “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” That command “is not a command to merely preach the gospel, but to conquer world culture for Christ. Boettner cites another postmillennialist: ‘To reduce this great commission to the premillenniarian program of preaching the gospel as a witness to a world that is to grow worse and worse until it plunges into its doom in destruction, is to emasculate the gospel of Christ and wither it into pitiful impotency.”
“[Bahsen defines the essence of this viewpoint:] ‘This confident attitude in the power of Christ’s Kingdom, the power of its gospel, the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer, and the progress of the great commission sets postmillennialism apart from the essential pessimism of amillennialism and premillennialism.’ ”
See what these guys are saying; learn to hear what they are saying. This doesn’t say we have to agree with it, but you’ve got to at least understand where they’re coming from. We’ll close with this paragraph; I just want to get you into their heads. Let me summarize this. In the middle of page 11, quote 33, here would be a typical Rushdoony quote. “Consider the difference it would make to the United States if instead of forty million or so premillennials, we had forty million postmillennials. Instead of having forty million people who expect that the world is going to end very soon and that they are going to be raptured out of tribulation, consider the difference it would make if these forty million instead felt that they had a duty under God to conquer in Christ’s name.” He’s right about something here; we have to, as premils, think about what’s our position to the society, because we operate in a different system than the postmil.
Now the question is, they have a problem with what do you suppose in Scripture? If they’re holding to the fact that the world is going to get better and better, what do you suppose the problem passages are for them? What about Christ saying broad is the road that leads… narrow is the road.... There are these pessimistic things in the Scriptures. It talks about in the last days people will fall away. What do you do with these; there are dozen of passages in the New Testament that talk about this falling away business. Here’s what they do. Watch carefully.
“In recent years, to explain the theme of pessimism in the New Testament, postmillennialists have revived and developed a ‘preterist’ scheme of interpretation. The preterist interpretation places the pessimist and judgmental passages in the apostolic era instead of the future.” So what they do is they take the pessimistic passages as here’s Christ’s resurrection, here’s the 70 years until the destruction of the temple, and then the church goes on. They say that all those pessimistic passages have to do with this era. And it’s a story of the judgment on Israel, that’s what the pessimism is all about, they rejected Messiah so they’re going to get clobbered.
Notice the source of it, page 11, Roman Catholicism. “…to neutralize Protestant claims that the Roman Church was the Babylonian whore of Revelation and would come to future damnation. Later unbelieving German higher critics of the Bible used the preterist approach,” because that way you could “deny predictive prophecy,” it was just written after the fact.
Finally, we’ll conclude with quote 36, page 12. “One of the most circulated premillennial preterist commentaries on the book of Revelation today is by David Chilton.” Listen to what he writes. Here’s what they’ve got to do, the book of Revelation is very pessimistic. “The book of Revelation is not about the Second Coming of Christ. It is about the destruction of Israel and Christ’s victory over His enemies in the establishment of the New Covenant Temple…. God sent the Edomites and Roman armies to destroy utterly the last remaining symbol of the Old Covenant: the Temple and the Holy City. This fact alone is sufficient to establish the writing of the Revelation as taking place before AD 70…. It foretells events that St. John expected his readers to see very soon…. [The ‘last days’] is a Biblical expression for the period between Christ’s Advent and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70: the ‘last days’ of Israel.”
That’s what they’ve got to do in order to deal with the pessimistic passages. Think about it. What are you going to do; if you’re postmil you’ve got to do something with those passages, so the way of dealing with it is this. What did I say about amillennialism and postmillennialism? They take the Kingdom away from Israel and give it to the church. What happens? It sets off a structural form of anti-Semitism. Now look what happens. Now we’ve got to deal with the pessimistic passages, so think of all those judgment passages in the book of Revelation, the wrath of God poured out upon the earth. That’s not poured out on the earth, who’s it poured out on in this view? Israel. See what’s happening here? The wrath of God is poured out against His own people, the nation, the physical nation of Israel.
That’s the structure. Next week we’ll deal with how we resolve it, we’ve presented the three views, what’s the form of logic, what’s the reasoning that we arrive at the position we do, and I’m going to give a defense of premillennialism.
Question asked: Clough replies: He has just asked the nature of the universe type question, [laughter] One of them, as we’ve gone through this some thoughts are beginning to gel about what’s going on around us right now. Let me just introduce this by saying I want to answer the first question, which is basically: is there an inherent postmillennialism going on around us right now in certain Christian movements? Let me preface it by saying this. Ideas have tremendous potency when they’re not brought out into the open and discussed. And where you have pulpits that are not teaching eschatology, and not teaching these doctrinal areas, you have people unconsciously choosing positions and not realizing what it is they’re choosing, because it never comes directly to their attention, it’s just kind of a group movement, or the peer pressure is just to go in this direction. Nobody stands back and says, not necessarily, it’s wrong. It’s that before you walk you need to walk by faith and you can’t walk by faith if you don’t have truth, because what is faith? Faith is spawned by the Word of God. So what we contend to do, sometimes even in our own godly Christian circles, we operate a lot by peer pressure rather than by personal conviction on the basis of Scripture.
What we’ve talked about in the pre-, post- and a-mil folks is not something new. I hope I’ve shown you that this goes on for centuries, these are not new discussions. They are always present, they have always been present, you can go through the hymn book and see the different ideas, all written in the hymn books that we use, all evangelical. One of the wisest things that you can do, besides studying the Bible, is to study a little church history, because church history gives you an experimental regime where you can test what ideas mean and see what happens. What happened…we’re going to see this coming up with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our first event will be the birth of Christ, and you’re going to see that every major heresy was tested in the 400 years between Christ’s birth and the Chalcedon Creed. The Jehovah Witnesses, Mormonism, the whole nine yards, all of those ideas were discussed centuries ago, there’s no need to discuss them any more; they were thrown out as garbage. People that trot around today with their little tracts are just poor people that are historically illiterate, because all those ideas were tested.
But in the area of eschatology the church… here’s the balance, we want to know that we have victory in Christ. We want to know that there is a solution to evil, and that Christ shall triumph over it. So if we’re premillennialists, we have to be on our guard that we don’t let the future-ness of the Kingdom of God make us complacent into thinking that there aren’t positive victorious areas to claim right here and now. That’s one of the things we have to guard against as premillennialists, it’s too easy to slip into an ‘oh, we’ve just got to hold on until Jesus comes’ kind of thing. That’s not an application of premillennialism.
The second question was about the debate inside the premil circles about the pre-trib, post-trib, and those things. We’re not going to get into those now because that has to do with the church after Christ. But here’s something to think about. In theology there are, what I call, points of stability and points of slippery slopes. Glen flies his airplane, and he knows that the airplane aerodynamically has certain angles that it flies at and it’s stable, and it has certain other angles that it flies at that are not stable. So there are certain positions that you naturally fall into, one way or the other. In eschatology there are two basic stability points. If somebody gets into one of these positions and they tend to veer back to this position, and if they’re over here they might tend to veer over to this position. The two positions are amillennialism of some brand, which in terms of the Tribulation would be post-trib, amillennialism—post-trib, Christ comes after the Tribulation, or pre-trib, premillennialism, because in pre-trib premillennialism the Rapture is another complexity that’s introduced into this whole scheme. But what it does, it maintains an optimism, it’s a corrective inside premillennialism. If premillennialism isn’t pre-trib, then you never know whether you’re going into the Tribulation or not. But if you are pre-trib premillennialist, you know that as long as the rapture hasn’t occurred, there’s room for victory.
So it tends to act as a corrective and a balance thing. Historical you’ll see this, you’ll see people kind of drifting around in their view of the tribulation, they won’t stay in the middle, they usually don’t. What usually happens is they either go post or they go pre. Then if they go pre, they’ll always be premillennial, because you can’t be… and if they go post they’ll tend to more and more downplay the millennium and become amillennial. Those are the two stability points. It’s not that people can’t hold other positions, but it tends to be that way if you watch the history of the discussions.
What we see today around us is a tendency for those who have a charismatic type background to join hands with people you would never dream they would join hands with. I’m thinking of the intellectuals in the reconstruction movement, like Rushdoony. These guys are very much intellectuals, they’re not so much in the sciences; they’re in the arts and history, economics. Gary North writes a newsletter for investors, very much a Reconstructionist. You wonder, wait a minute, how come these groups tend to be amalgamating now, we seem to see, and the answer is because they fundamentally move in a direction that is very compatible with each other. Think about that quote we just went through. What does the postmillennialist say about the gospel, it is a potent gospel, it is a world-conquering gospel, it is so powerful under the power of the Holy Spirit that it shall redeem society. So the urge to bring in the Kingdom is present in both of those communities. That’s why you tend to see them cooperating, unintentionally, I don’t think they sit down and do this; it’s just that it just happens because they’re both operating on the same frequency, and they tend to find themselves as co-workers.
You see it sometimes in healing ministries. For example, it will often be said that healing is in the atonement, therefore, we can have this miraculous healing ministry and everybody can be healed. What happens, unfortunately, in those kinds of cases is that you’ll have people that aren’t healed and now they’ve got two problems, they have their original illness that they started with and now they have psychological guilt because they didn’t get healed, now they come walking abound thinking they don’t have enough faith. Can God heal? Of course God can heal. The question however, is whether this healing that’s in the atonement is to be applied all of it now, or is the healing in the atonement to be applied in stages, some now, all of it later with the resurrection of the body. There’s that factor.
So you can begin to see what we’re talking about here sounds at first glance like it’s some abstract category that we’ve created, but I wanted to show you that it’s very, very practical. We’re always surrounded with that, and if we are literalists, we believe the Scripture, if we believe that it takes Christ to bring in the Kingdom, then, for example, here is how I approach it. I’ve struggled with this for many years; I’ve worked with people in both political parties. At one point we had a little ministry where in one town almost every precinct leader in both parties was a biblical Christian. And it stunned the party leadership in both parties; both the Republicans and Democrats got together in an emergency meeting because all their precincts were falling to this right-wing conspiracy. At one time they were both talking to one another, so concerned were they that both of their parties were getting infiltrated, what do you do now?
What I’ve personally concluded is that if you stay with the pre-trib, premillennial position you preserve optimism in this sense, that Satan can never totally dominate world society, he has not been given that option. In the Tribulation, yes, he takes over. But we aren’t in the Tribulation, and therefore we don’t have to act like we’re in the Tribulation, there is room left to move. God hasn’t declared war, He hasn’t recalled His ambassadors; this isn’t the Tribulation yet. On the other hand, because we have this literalist view of the Kingdom, what do we know must take place in order to have a perfect society? To have a perfect society requires more than just born again Christians, doesn’t it? If the Kingdom picture of the Old Testament is true, having 100% regenerate population is not going to bring a new kingdom, something else is needed. What else is needed? A redeeming of the environment. The ecology movement at least has made us aware of the environment. Who redeems the environment at the end of the Tribulation to introduce the Kingdom? Jesus Christ. There is a cleansing of the environment, and I don’t mean just a physical cleansing, what else happens? The principalities and powers of darkness are suspended; their authority is removed for a thousand years. So because of that we have a boundary.
Now we’ve established a function. If you can plot evil, you have a minimum level of evil; it will always be there in the Church Age. That minimum level is the presence of Satan. He walks the face of this earth, what does Peter say, “as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” It doesn’t sound like he’s on a leash; he’s walking around seeking whom he may devour, so there’s always a minimum power to evil. But on the other hand there is a maximum power that restrains him, and that is, he does not have full reign. That gives us a zone to operate in, and where the church is vigorous and evangelistic and wins people to Christ and grows them in the Word, historically what do we observe? A better society. But what happens the moment the evangelism goes out the drain and the Word of God is rejected? It goes right back to where it was.
Now if postmillennialism is true, shouldn’t it at least be demonstrable sometime in church history, that where Christianity was vigorous, such as North Africa prior to AD 400, such as New England between 1600 and 1800, for 200 years Christianity dominated New England life, to the point where it’s ridiculed in text books. What happened? New England isn’t Christian today, I’ll tell you that right now. Is North Africa Christian? North Africa sank, it’s like the Lord in the book of Revelation said, I’ll take your candlestick away from you, and He took the candlestick out of North Africa and it’s never been the same since. He took the candlestick out of New England and it’s never been the same since. So where Christianity has flourished and then the population has turned against it, God turns out the lights. And you can send missionaries into these areas until you’re bankrupt and nothing seems to happen, the place is just spiritually dead. It’s almost like you have to flush the whole population out and bring in new people or something. When you go to New England, and I know New England pretty well, my parents both come from there and I was led to the Lord in New England, and I know Christians there for many years in New England, and I speak out of that knowledge, and I can tell you the only vibrant churches in New England today are churches that have congregations of transplants. They are people that moved in because of the ship industry, the engineering industry or something, and they’re transplants, they’re from other areas. Those churches in New England are flourishing. The churches that are made up of the people that have been there since Aunt Tilda was born, those churches are the deadest things you ever saw. Terrible, awful, full of legalism, if they have any kind of Scripture at all it’s legalism and if they don’t have that then they’re off into Unitarian liberalism. It’s a mess. Postmillennial doesn’t demonstrate that it works in history.
Question asked: Clough replies: I think they probably would because the point is that we can look back in the 19th century and ask ourselves what happened then? You had postmillennials who were conservative; they started a lot of the social reform movements. I can’t speak with authority over specific social reform movements because I’m not intimate to the biographies of the people but I’d almost bet you that a lot of the movements that we can identify today came out of that, came out of a postmillennial background. And in each of those cases, this movement, this social gospel movement, was captured by the liberals, because liberalism doesn’t have a gospel. It doesn’t have anything, people aren’t saved, there’s no answer to the fundamental questions of life, so because they’ve destroyed the gospel, they’ve got to replace it with something.
What do you do with people who don’t press their guilt all the way to the throne of God and see the blood of Christ cleanses me from all sin? What’s the natural thing that the flesh always does to substitute for the blood of Christ? Works. Now you see the connection. Activity in (quote) “good causes,” becomes a work, and where the gospel goes down… originally the postmils were preaching the gospel in the missions, the feeding the poor, freeing the slaves. People did it because these people were made in God’s image and should be handled as people made in God’s image, so you respected the individual because of your Biblical view that these slaves, these poor people, they too are made in God’s image and they too, Christ has died for them, etc., etc., etc.
But when the gospel goes away and the Word of God is turned around, now what we have left is just this outer crust of activities. So we have all the good works, we have the welfare reform, we have the prohibition movement, we have these kinds of things that go on, and propelled by this need to “make myself feel good.” So the social gospel finally winds up attracting people to itself with a view that we can make it better, but it’s we who are the ones who are making it better, there’s a shift there. The victory now comes because of us, not because of Christ. Then the liberalism comes in a little bit more and then you get this attitude, we don’t want to talk about the gospel in quite such vivid terms, let’s just talk about giving out food for the hungry, let’s do this and let’s do that, and then in the quiet moments of privacy we can talk about the gospel. We don’t want to fly that gospel flag too publicly. See what’s happening. Finally it turns out that nobody even mentions the gospel, it’s just good works.
That’s the sequences of events, and yes, I think you can say postmillennialism sets people up for that. Our time is up, we’ll get into this more next time.