Not a Good Time to Be a Postmil?

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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
I've perused through his commentary. Its pretty elementary. I like others' better like Chilton even if he is in his own little world on some of the exegesis.
I read Chilton's work but now its out of print. I really dislike reading from a screen.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I'm not postmil, but on the other hand, to quote the noted theologian Yogi Berra, (look him up) "It ain't over till it's over. :)
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Not necessarily to do with dispensationalism, but there is a long history of identifying Gog in Ezekiel 38-39 with whoever is the current threatening world power, from Ambrose in the 4th Century onward. Goths, Mongols, the Pope, Turks, and Russians have all featured, among many others. Lindsey type prophetic speculation has a long (though not distinguished) history.

No question about it. I should have made it clear that I was referring to it "starting" in a relative sense. But if I'm not mistaken, the wars and the establishment of the modern state of Israel saw it increase, even as most who were not dispensationalists eschewed it.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I might have spoken too soon. Historicistic Dispensationalists would still see prophecy to be fulfilled pure futurists wouldn't.

I really haven't looked into this in any depth in at least a decade. You're right that futurists shouldn't get into that. But what I think the Lindsey types (and even some who are arguably more careful and sober writers) are trying to do is identify signs of the coming tribulation. Technically I think that all pre-tribbers have to affirm imminency, that the rapture can happen at any time, with post-tribbers arguing against that kind of imminency. Some premil critics of pre-trib have said that the Second Coming is impending, but not imminent, and I remember Hoekema also referring to that.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I read Chilton's work but now its out of print. I really dislike reading from a screen.

Here's D. A. Carson on Chilton's commentary:

"The book is strongest where it brings together - from larger, more technical commentaries - something of the wealth of Old Testament allusions and shows their relevance to the interpretation of the Apocalypse. But Chilton ties his interpretation of the entire book to a dogmatic insistence that it was written before AD 70 and that its predictions are focused on the destruction of Jerusalem. Although there are some excellent theological links crafted in this book, the central setting and argument are so weak and open to criticism that I cannot recommend this work very warmly. The lengthy (18 pages) "Publisher's Preface" by Gary North is so arrogant and condescending that it is embarrassing. I earnestly hope Chilton found it so." New Testament Commentary Survey (7th edition, 2013), p. 160.
 
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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I really dislike reading from a screen.

I do too. A desktop or laptop screen that is. But have you tried a tablet? To me, the difference is night and day. I read hours a day on my Samsung Tab S6 with a 10.5" screen. I now prefer the tablet over paper books.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Here's D. A. Carson on Chilton's commentary:

"The book is strongest where it brings together, from larger, more technical commentaries, something of the wealth of Old Testament allusions and shows their relevance to the interpretation of the Apocalypse. But Chilton ties his interpretation of the entire book to a dogmatic insistence that it was written before AD 70 and that its predictions are focused on the destruction of Jerusalem. Although there are some excellent theological links crafted in this book, the central setting and argument are so weak and open to criticism that I cannot recommend this work very warmly. The lengthy (18 pages) "Publisher's Preface" by Gary North is so arrogant and condescending that it is embarrassing. I earnest hope Chilton found it so." New Testament Commentary Survey (7th edition, 2013), p. 160.

Agreed. Chilton's stuff has some interesting OT insights, but when it comes to actually proving his system, he is at a loss for words. And he went full preterist at the end. The problem is finding why the cut off between the middle of Revelation 20 is allowed by the text, otherwise you can't hold to the second coming. I think Chilton's other disciples know this as well, since I recently asked a published preterist (who I assume is orthodox) if he believed in the bodily return of Christ. He didn't answer me.
 
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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Agreed. Chilton's stuff has some interesting OT insights, but when it comes to actually proving his system, he is at a loss for words. And he went full preterist at the end. The problem is finding why the cut off between the middle of Revelation 20 is allowed by the text, otherwise you can't hold to the second coming. I think Chilton's other disciples know this as well, since I recently asked a published preterist (who I assume is orthodox) if he believed in the bodily return of Christ. He didn't answer me.

How one could not believe it is the incredible part. The Bible is rather crystal-clear on that subject.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
How one could not believe it is the incredible part. The Bible is rather crystal-clear on that subject.
Indeed. I'm a 'waffling preterist,' not in the sense that I flirt with full preterism (because I don't) but, because many interpreters, largely of the American Vision stripe, try to paint the Gospels as virtually exclusively talking about Israel's rejection of Christ. As a result many references of hell or calamity outside of the Olivet discourse are seen as referring to 70 A.D. This ultimately strips them, and the Bible, of any eschatology, individual or otherwise. So I cannot follow their footsteps knowing the logical conclusion. I agree with many facets of preterism and seeing a lot fulfilled but certainly not all of prophecy. Many who take the above view even start denying the bodily resurrection of Christ to save their system with Christ as 'coming back' somehow in 70 AD.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Indeed. I'm a 'waffling preterist,' not in the sense that I flirt with full preterism (because I don't) but, because many interpreters, largely of the American Vision stripe, try to paint the Gospels as virtually exclusively talking about Israel's rejection of Christ. As a result many references of hell or calamity outside of the Olivet discourse are seen as referring to 70 A.D. This ultimately strips them, and the Bible, of any eschatology, individual or otherwise. So I cannot follow their footsteps knowing the logical conclusion. I agree with many facets of preterism and seeing a lot fulfilled but certainly not all of prophecy. Many who take the above view even start denying the bodily resurrection of Christ to save their system with Christ as 'coming back' somehow in 70 AD.
Yes, exactly. The Theonomist vision is too tidy, no loose ends...at least they won't admit it.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Most theonomists tend to be preterists in a way similar to what I described. Not all though, of course. Gentry is good about not going down those paths even though he is a theonomist.

That makes sense. I was just making sure we are not saying or implying that these things are inherent to Theonomy because, in my view, they aren’t. In fact, as Bahnsen points out in numerous works (and Gentry), eschatology has little if nothing to do with whether or not someone has a Theonomic view of Christian ethics. Of course, I guess Dispensationalism would militate against it.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
That makes sense. I was just making sure we are not saying or implying that these things are inherent to Theonomy because, in my view, they aren’t. In fact, as Bahnsen points out in numerous works (and Gentry), eschatology has little if nothing to do with whether or not someone has a Theonomic view of Christian ethics. Of course, I guess Dispensationalism would militate against it.
Indeed. Not sure why but preterism tends to to hand and hand with Theonomy and postmillennialism. The second is also generally a good indicator of the others for whatever reason...
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Here's D. A. Carson on Chilton's commentary:

"The book is strongest where it brings together, from larger, more technical commentaries, something of the wealth of Old Testament allusions and shows their relevance to the interpretation of the Apocalypse. But Chilton ties his interpretation of the entire book to a dogmatic insistence that it was written before AD 70 and that its predictions are focused on the destruction of Jerusalem. Although there are some excellent theological links crafted in this book, the central setting and argument are so weak and open to criticism that I cannot recommend this work very warmly. The lengthy (18 pages) "Publisher's Preface" by Gary North is so arrogant and condescending that it is embarrassing. I earnest hope Chilton found it so." New Testament Commentary Survey (7th edition, 2013), p. 160.

Interestingly, Gordon Wenham (a former member of my current church), whose biblical scholarship few would dispute, wrote a brief foreword to David Chilton's commentary:

Readers of the Book of Revelation are either mesmerized or mystified by it. The mesmerized come up with such startling interpretations that the mystified often conclude that soberminded Christians should leave the book well alone.

David Chilton's commentary ought to be studied by both types of reader. He shows that Revelation is a book, like every other book of the New Testament, addressed primarily to the first-century church and easily understood by them, because they were thoroughly familiar with Old Testament imagery. He shows that once we grasp these idioms, Revelation is not difficult for us to understand either.

Revelation remains, though, a challenging and relevant book for us, not because it gives an outline of world history with special reference to our era, but because it shows us that Christ is in control of world history, and how we should live and pray and worship. In vivid powerful imagery it teaches us what it means to believe in God's sovereignty and justice. May this valuable commentary prompt us to pray with John and the universal church in heaven and on earth, 'Even so come, Lord Jesus!'
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Interestingly, Gordon Wenham (a former member of my current church), whose biblical scholarship few would dispute, wrote a brief foreword to David Chilton's commentary:

Readers of the Book of Revelation are either mesmerized or mystified by it. The mesmerized come up with such startling interpretations that the mystified often conclude that soberminded Christians should leave the book well alone.

David Chilton's commentary ought to be studied by both types of reader. He shows that Revelation is a book, like every other book of the New Testament, addressed primarily to the first-century church and easily understood by them, because they were thoroughly familiar with Old Testament imagery. He shows that once we grasp these idioms, Revelation is not difficult for us to understand either.

Revelation remains, though, a challenging and relevant book for us, not because it gives an outline of world history with special reference to our era, but because it shows us that Christ is in control of world history, and how we should live and pray and worship. In vivid powerful imagery it teaches us what it means to believe in God's sovereignty and justice. May this valuable commentary prompt us to pray with John and the universal church in heaven and on earth, 'Even so come, Lord Jesus!'
Very good.
I'd agree with the comments about North and perhaps I am biased but, as we should all know, Carson, even if we love him, isn't the be all, end all of New Testament scholarship. Neither is Moo for that matter. Morris might be closer :p
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Speaking of postmillennialism and theonomy: Kenneth L. Gentry has finally finished his academic commentary on Revelation, which he's been working on for many years.

It's called The Divorce of Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation. It's two volumes and is supposed to be published by Tolle Lege Press this month (October, 2020). You can get more details about it, if interested, from his Wikipedia page.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A nuclear bomb on the State of Israel will end Dispensationalism. A flurry of nuclear bombs will end (the headquarters nation of) the latter Babylon, although there may be great plagues / judgments on it prior to such, as warnings to repent and seek the Savior.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Indeed. I'm a 'waffling preterist,' not in the sense that I flirt with full preterism (because I don't) but, because many interpreters, largely of the American Vision stripe, try to paint the Gospels as virtually exclusively talking about Israel's rejection of Christ. As a result many references of hell or calamity outside of the Olivet discourse are seen as referring to 70 A.D. This ultimately strips them, and the Bible, of any eschatology, individual or otherwise. So I cannot follow their footsteps knowing the logical conclusion. I agree with many facets of preterism and seeing a lot fulfilled but certainly not all of prophecy. Many who take the above view even start denying the bodily resurrection of Christ to save their system with Christ as 'coming back' somehow in 70 AD.

Exactly. I asked a preterist author at American Vision point blank if he believed in the bodily return of Christ in the future. He wouldn't answer. I think he does, but I also think he didn't want to upset his hyper preterist friends.

Preterism is a pure acid drip. There is only one logical conclusion.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
Preterism is a pure acid drip. There is only one logical conclusion.

Agreed. Every time I flirt with preterism (the systematic type, not just in the Olivet Discourse), there seems to be no consistent hermeneutic to separate Jesus’ coming for final judgment and his coming for 70AD judgment. It seems the only way to hang on to orthodoxy is just to use it as a rescue device somewhere.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Alan Kurschner, a futurist, documents where a hyper preterist shreds Mathison's hermeneutic.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
A nuclear bomb on the State of Israel will end Dispensationalism. A flurry of nuclear bombs will end (the headquarters nation of) the latter Babylon, although there may be great plagues / judgments on it prior to such, as warnings to repent and seek the Savior.
That's only a problem for those who insist that the modern state of Israel IS the fulfillment of prophecy, which is not something that more careful writers have done in recent decades. (Not that a whole lot of people read them, of course, with many not reading anything at all.) It would probably decrease a belief in Zionism on the popular level. But that already seems to be in sharp decline in the SBC anyway, even among those who aren't Calvinistic, and the EFCA's recent decision to no longer require their ministers to be premil is another sign that it is on the decline. Most of the sensational stuff these days seems to be emanating from the charismatic camp. I'm not sure that most of them can even really be said to be "dispensationalists" in any technical sense unless we reduce that to Zionism and maybe pre-trib, which would mean that some others who aren't usually considered Dispensationalists are Dispensationalists. Some of the charismatics are also abandoning pre-trib but are still Zionists nonetheless, such as Michael L. Brown.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Chris, if Michael L. Brown is not pre-trib what is he then (I'm not up-to-speed on his beliefs)? And what does his Zionism consist of - does it include a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ in Jerusalem? Thanks.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Chris, if Michael L. Brown is not pre-trib what is he then (I'm not up-to-speed on his beliefs)? And what does his Zionism consist of - does it include a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ in Jerusalem? Thanks.

He is post trib. He and Craig Keener recently wrote a book critiquing pre-trib, Not Afraid of the Anti-Christ.

He is a Zionist in the sense he thinks Israel has a right to exist and that God hasn't reneged on his promises to Israel. I'm sure he holds to a 1,000 year reign, though I don't recall him talking about it.

He debated Gary Demar on preterism and did a really good job.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Chris, if Michael L. Brown is not pre-trib what is he then (I'm not up-to-speed on his beliefs)? And what does his Zionism consist of - does it include a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ in Jerusalem? Thanks.

I’m pretty sure it would include the 1,000-year reign from Jerusalem. He has the book Jacob mentioned plus a revised “Our Hands Are Stained With Blood” but I don’t know that the latter goes into any detail regarding eschatology. I see he has another book coming out on antisemitism. I’m not sure how that is going to differ from “Our Hands” except that the title indicates that it might be largely focused on current trends rather than a historical survey.

I follow his cultural/political commentary from time to time but I don’t have a thorough grasp on his theology besides the fact that he still defends the Brownsville revival and that he is Arminian. I understand that one reason why he ended up leaving Brownsville was because he would not join the Assembly of God. The Assembly of God has pre-trib as an article of faith. So if he held his current views 20 years ago, that’d be one reason why he wouldn’t join the AG.


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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
A nuke on Israel wouldn't end dispensationalism. It would just set it back a generation. Only something like Hitler's plan would end dispensationalism. In fact, some extreme Zionists have suggested a tactical nuke on Jerusalem. That would get rid of the Dome of the Rock (which, incidentally, is why Muslims won't nuke Jerusalem. CNN's allies, the Chinese Communists, might), which would allow the rebuilding of the temple.

Not an ICBM, obviously. Just a tactical nuke like the one used on the twin towers or that building in Lebanon.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I am just after reading a sermon by J. L. Girardeau wherein he argues that there will be a period of intense suffering, "a great tribulation" before the millennium commences. Hence, the thesis of the OP is either a straw-man or betrays a less than sophisticated understanding what postmillennialists have taught.
 
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alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah, cuz we should base our theology of truth on empiricism (which is, itself, subject to manifold interpretation). :rofl: :rolleyes:

If my version of postmillennialism taught that each year must be better than the last, then 2020 would be troubling. I am not sure any variety of postmillenarians believe that though.

If we're all still around in 10 years, this will be a bad year for dispensationalism

Well a central argument Boettner uses in his Millennium to defend the Postmil position is exactly this: that, in his view, at the time of writing the book, there was a great flourishing of Christian culture in the world (even using things like the many Christian magazines and radio shows at the time as evidence of the Postmil position). I read that book looking for a defence of the Postmil position and I was less convinced in it after reading the book than I was before. I thought he made a very weak case. On the other hand his treatment of Premil is excellent and that is where the book is most valuable.
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Indeed. I'm a 'waffling preterist,' not in the sense that I flirt with full preterism (because I don't) but, because many interpreters, largely of the American Vision stripe, try to paint the Gospels as virtually exclusively talking about Israel's rejection of Christ. As a result many references of hell or calamity outside of the Olivet discourse are seen as referring to 70 A.D. This ultimately strips them, and the Bible, of any eschatology, individual or otherwise. So I cannot follow their footsteps knowing the logical conclusion. I agree with many facets of preterism and seeing a lot fulfilled but certainly not all of prophecy. Many who take the above view even start denying the bodily resurrection of Christ to save their system with Christ as 'coming back' somehow in 70 AD.

I totally agree.
 
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