Why I Became a Postmillenialist

Alistair recently posted on his site a very good treatment of his theological history. I very much understood where he was coming from and wanted to express here some of the reasons I believe the things I do.

Many of the people that I still have as friends continue to be mildly dispensational and definitely Baptist. I understand why I am a postmillenial, paedobaptist presbyterian. Many of my friends on the other hand don’t understand at the least and at the most think I’m crazy. I became very interested in Greg Bahnsen after a friend (a baptist friend) loaned me some of his debates with atheists. I was very impressed with Bahnsen’s thinking and saw how much of what he said fit with the scripture. I tend to be slow to latch on to new ideas but at times I run into things that are rather close to what I was already thinking but I didn’t really know how to put it to words. Listening to Bahnsen made me want to understand more of his reconstructionism and his postmillenialism. I still remember the day that I was listening to his tapes “Why I am a Postmillenialist”. I felt that he had a better grasp of eschatology than I had heard before but I wanted to be sure that what he said was really in the Bible. After listening to his explanation of 1 Corinthians 15 and especially verses 20-28 a few times I came to understand what he was saying. It kind of clicked when I came to understand that the passage leaves no room for a millenium on earth after the return of Christ. The dispensational premillenialist can hold his position by ignoring the clear idea that the defeat of the last enemy is accomplished by the final resurrection. The last enemy (death) is defeated by the resurrection that occurrs when Christ returns. There is no place for future enemies at the end of the millenium as the premillenialist must claim.

The biggest problem my friends have with this is Revelation 20 and their literalist reading of that (and their view of Israel). One problem among many with this is that they cannot put a “literal” reading of Revelation 20 up against a literal reading of 1 Corinthians 15. They may say that I ignore Revelation 20 (without basis) but it seems to me they ignore 1 Corinthians 15. They can’t have it both ways. Some say that Revelation 19 depicts Christ coming on a literal horse from heaven but that the sword coming out of his mouth is figurative. Why? Isn’t it rather clear that it is all figurative. Yes, the word of Christ is a two-edged sword that defeats the enemies of God. Isn’t this nothing more than a picture of the triumph of the gospel in this age?

Just like Alistair, it becomes easier to look at a wider range of beliefs and look for the good. When postmillenialism and amillenialism is linked to unbelieving liberalism it makes you wonder. If some people cannot even understand where the postmillenialist is coming from (to the extent they call them liberal) can we be sure that they know where others are coming from?. Just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.

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6 Responses to Why I Became a Postmillenialist

  1. sc says:

    interesting. I listened to the same tapes (but as MP3’s) first about 10 months ago. Since then, I have listened to the same tapes over 15 times. Why so many times? Rhetoric. Not inappropriately, Bahnsen uses a lot of rhetorical devices in making his point. My goal was to separate the rhetoric that he uses (as an effective preacher) and the explicit biblical exegesis. Don’t misunderstand. That sounds like it paints a black picture of Bahnsen. Not my intent. He was greatly, enviably, used by God. But I would expect someone to do the same thing to anything controversial that was preached from anyone. It’s called scholarship, and yes, I’m a novice at it. However, it helped a lot to work through his message/recordings that way.

  2. jhyink says:

    Thanks for the post. But more, thanks for your influence on my theological development over the years.

  3. Sky says:

    So does “postmillenial, paedobaptist presbyterian” make you a postmillenial LCMS Lutheran?

    LOL, Seriously though, maybe one needs to put up some definitions for those big words for those of us that don’t know for what they stand. Such as paedobaptist. Although after some research I think I understand what it means. I think.

  4. Joseph says:

    I apologize for not being more clear about what everything means. Thanks for pointing that out. I hope the following helps.

    A postmillenialist believes that the Bible teaches that Christ will return at the end of history. This return will happen after all enemies have been defeated as stated in 1 Corinthians 15. Before that point the gospel will have spread throughout the entire world so that the entire world knows Christ (every single individual may not be converted but the majority will).

    A paedobaptist believes that the children of believing parents are to be baptized as a sign of the covenant of grace. This is similar to the circumcision of the Old Testament. This baptism does not convert or regenerate the child in any mystical sense but does admit them to the physical body of Christ so that they may participate in its blessings.

    A Presbyterian normally refers to a church that has a plurality of elders for government. The church is normally connected to other presbyterian churches through a presbytery (group of elders – presbuteros is the greek word for elder in the NT). Most conservative american presbyterians still follow the Westminster Confession of Faith as a statment of doctrinal belief. The Westminster Confession of Faith was written by theologians from the Churches of Scotland, England , and Ireland in the 1640s and was established by an act of parliament to bring about uniformity of religion at that time.

  5. Sky says:

    In reference to Paedobaptist.

    So why would one use baptism instead of circumcision or in addition too.

  6. Joseph says:

    Colossians 2:11-12 seems to use baptims and circumcision in parallel. Since we know that circumcision is no longer required in the NT it seems reasonable to see here that there is some sort of replacement of ideas between the two.

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