Historicity of Postmillennialism ...

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amishrockstar

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm studying Postmillennialism right now and I've noticed that when the question of 'history' comes up, the Postmil points to the Puritans and Princeton; are there any prominent Postmils before that era? Why do they always stop there?
When I read Amillennialist literature, they point to all sorts of early church fathers (especially Augustine) who held to their position; even Premils reference some of the 'fathers' who were clearly Premil (Justin Martyr).

Any thoughts?

(Please note, I'm NOT committing the fallacy of saying that if it's older it's better!!! I'm simply wondering why Postmils stop at the Puritans; don't they have any earlier references?)

THANKS
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I'm studying Postmillennialism right now and I've noticed that when the question of 'history' comes up, the Postmil points to the Puritans and Princeton; are there any prominent Postmils before that era? Why do they always stop there?
When I read Amillennialist literature, they point to all sorts of early church fathers (especially Augustine) who held to their position; even Premils reference some of the 'fathers' who were clearly Premil (Justin Martyr).

Any thoughts?

(Please note, I'm NOT committing the fallacy of saying that if it's older it's better!!! I'm simply wondering why Postmils stop at the Puritans; don't they have any earlier references?)

THANKS

The Puritans used language regarding world conversion that seemed very postmillennial, and since most Reformed people demur to whatever the Puritans say, it isn't a bad (psychologically) argument.

Why don't they go earlier? Part of the reason is that the pre-Reformation church held to the Augustinian spiritual vision, which isn't postmillennial. Augustine, in fact, thought any model that didn't read OT promises in "spiritual" light was beyond credulity (which tells us more about his imagination than anything else).

Justin Martyr and Irenaeus have fine premillennial arguments that were instrumental for me going from Post to Pre.
 

amishrockstar

Puritan Board Freshman
So, before the Reformation we really don't have much 'history' for Postmillennialism then...
Any Postmils out there want to dispute that? It almost seems that the church has held to Amillennialism (with a few Premils) throughout its (almost) 2,000 year history.

That wouldn't necessarily make Postmillennialism wrong! But it does put a 'stopper' on embracing it as the historical Christian consensus for the 'end times'

Any other thoughts?
 
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Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm studying Postmillennialism right now and I've noticed that when the question of 'history' comes up, the Postmil points to the Puritans and Princeton; are there any prominent Postmils before that era? Why do they always stop there?
When I read Amillennialist literature, they point to all sorts of early church fathers (especially Augustine) who held to their position; even Premils reference some of the 'fathers' who were clearly Premil (Justin Martyr).

Any thoughts?

(Please note, I'm NOT committing the fallacy of saying that if it's older it's better!!! I'm simply wondering why Postmils stop at the Puritans; don't they have any earlier references?)

THANKS


Sure, excellent subject by the way. I would be cautious as to where you are deriving your information on Postmillennialism. If you have consulted Gentry, North, and Maithson I am sure none of those gentlemen halt at the puritans. So I would have to ask, whom are you reading? The reason I inquire is simply because Postmillennialism is defiantly the most caricatured and misrepresented of the eschatological bodies… Kenneth Gentry goes through unimaginable painstaking efforts to refute the common misconceptions on the historicity of Postmillennialism in his “He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology.” The second edition is defiantly the best defense of post mill in print.

As a starting point in the matter of historical precedent, I would consult D.H. Kromminga, “The Millennium in the Church.” Kromminga does extensive studies in early sub apostolic writings such as: Polycarp’s epistle, Barnabas, Hermas, Diognetus, many fragments of Papias. Kromminga dives much more heavily into literature of Clement of Rome’s I Clement, The Didache, The Ignatian Epistles, and 2 Clement. He, in my opinion, does an excellent job illustrating that only Papias is premillennial of the sub-apostolic fathers. D.H. Kromminga is Pre-mill by the way ?… Kromminga comments (on Pre-millism), “an inquiry into the extent of ancient chiliasm will serve to show the untenableness of the claim that this doctrine was held with practical unanimity by the church of the first few centuries” (Kromminga, Millennium, Pg 30 and 41).

Many have butchered postmillennialism, and we often hear the suggestion “Daniel Whitby is the originator of what is known as postmillennialism” (Chafer, Systematic Theology, 280-281). Although Whitby is credited with popularizing postmillennialism, Whitby is by no means its originator. I believe a lot of the confusion is due to the fact that postmillennialism has undergone much change and systematization in the post-Reformation era… however piecemeal of it appears in adumbrated form throughout antiquity. This is because postmillennialism, in it most pedantic form, is simply the hope that “Christ will return to the earth after the Spirit-blessed Gospel has had overwhelming success in bringing the world to the adoption of Christianity” (Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, Pg. 79). Statements of hope akin to these appear in Origen, (defiantly) Eusebius, (Post mill champ) Athanasius, and Augustine. Although, the common consensus is Augustine was decidedly A-mill, there is a plethora of Post-mill type thinking in many of his writings. Such scholars as Thomas Finger, William Sanford LaSor, D.W. Bebbington, and even Dispensationalist Walvoord is aware of many of Augustine Post-mill type of thinking and writting.

There is an excellent book titled “They Kingdom Come: Studies in Postmillennial Eschatology.” This work is excellent in an overall presentation of postmillennialism. In this work, general edited by Kenneth Gentry, amazing studies in the foundations for a Postmillennial Eschatology are found. Also as a treat, we find Gentry rebuttal to Strimple’s misrepresentation of Post-mill in their debate book, “Three views on the Millennium.”
 
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Answerman

Puritan Board Sophomore
I would venture to say that before the puritans Christians were living out postmillenialism rather than talking about it. Just look at the early church, they talked little to nothing about the millennium because they were too busy turning the world upside-down with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So whether Christians are pre, a, or post-mill, operationally they should be postmill.

When Christ's army are storming the gates of hell, we can rest assured that those gates are going to come down.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I would venture to say that before the puritans Christians were living out postmillenialism rather than talking about it. Just look at the early church, they talked little to nothing about the millennium because they were too busy turning the world upside-down with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So whether Christians are pre, a, or post-mill, operationally they should be postmill.

When Christ's army are storming the gates of hell, we can rest assured that those gates are going to come down.

:agree:

Read RJ Rushdoony's "The Atheism of the Early Church"
 
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