Puritan Postmillennialism v. Rushdoony Postmillennialism

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Peter

Puritan Board Junior
I dont know how many people are aware but the Postmillennialism popularized by Rushdoony and reconstruction is actually much different than that which the Puritans held to. Postmillennialism today isnt really postmillennialism, its actually just an optimistic form of Amillennialism. Both believe the millennial rule of saints and binding of satan is an allagorical representation of the last days, ie NT era. "Puritan Postmillennialism" teaches that the millennium is a prolonged period of time where satans power in opposing the gospel is limmited and the gospel advances exponentially. The 1st resurrection is the beginning of the 1000yrs. The 2nd resurrection is the end of the millennium and the beginning of "Satans little season" when the saints will be martyred for their testimony again. Then comes Jesus and final judgment. I'm just wondering what other postmillennialists think of this. I prefer Rushdoony's model but its something im considering. I have more to post, but later.
 

luvroftheWord

Puritan Board Sophomore
I always thought that Puritan Postmill was either a literal 1,000 year period or just a long period of time that is still yet to come. I was also under the impression that this is largely due to a historicist understanding of Revelation (which I would think would lead to more of a Premill than Postmill understanding).

I hold an Amill interpretation of Revelation 20, which I find to be consistent with either an Amill or contemporary Postmill framework, depending on how you interpret Revelation.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
On another thread "theonomic postmillennialism" was distinguished from "classic postmillennialism." I didn't get the distinction at the time, and it is still fuzzy to me, but I definitely stand on most subjects with the Puritans over Rushdoony any day.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
On another thread "theonomic postmillennialism" was distinguished from "classic postmillennialism." I didn't get the distinction at the time, and it is still fuzzy to me, but I definitely stand on most subjects with the Puritans over Rushdoony any day.

:up: :up:
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by luvroftheWord
I always thought that Puritan Postmill was either a literal 1,000 year period or just a long period of time that is still yet to come. I was also under the impression that this is largely due to a historicist understanding of Revelation (which I would think would lead to more of a Premill than Postmill understanding).

I hold an Amill interpretation of Revelation 20, which I find to be consistent with either an Amill or contemporary Postmill framework, depending on how you interpret Revelation.

Not a literal 1000 years but youre right it is yet to come.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Paul manata
I think that: (1) the first resurrection is regeneration. (2) The confession onloy allows for one resurrection so I don't think the puritans held to two, did they?

""Puritan Postmillennialism" teaches that the millennium is a prolonged period of time where satans power in opposing the gospel is limmited and the gospel advances exponentially."

This is what Bahsne et al teaches as well. I thought Puritan teaches s literal 1000 yeas.

Yes, this view like other nonpremillennial views teaches there is one general resurrection and judgment at the end of the age after Christ's return. However, neither resurrections spoken of in Rev 20 are the literal bodily resurrection. The resurrection of life is the beginning of the 1000yrs when the gospel will be accepted. The resurrection of the ungodly is when the gospel will again be rejected, "satan's little season." I found this lecture helpful in understanding this view of the millennium: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonsspeaker&sermonID=9130414633
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
On another thread "theonomic postmillennialism" was distinguished from "classic postmillennialism." I didn't get the distinction at the time, and it is still fuzzy to me, but I definitely stand on most subjects with the Puritans over Rushdoony any day.

I didnt get the distinction either, and I wasnt sure if the thread author meant the distinction which is the subject of this discussion. I like Rushdoony.::D
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Paul manata
Originally posted by Peter
Originally posted by Paul manata
I think that: (1) the first resurrection is regeneration. (2) The confession onloy allows for one resurrection so I don't think the puritans held to two, did they?

""Puritan Postmillennialism" teaches that the millennium is a prolonged period of time where satans power in opposing the gospel is limmited and the gospel advances exponentially."

This is what Bahsne et al teaches as well. I thought Puritan teaches s literal 1000 yeas.

Yes, this view like other nonpremillennial views teaches there is one general resurrection and judgment at the end of the age after Christ's return. However, neither resurrections spoken of in Rev 20 are the literal bodily resurrection. The resurrection of life is the beginning of the 1000yrs when the gospel will be accepted. The resurrection of the ungodly is when the gospel will again be rejected, "satan's little season." I found this lecture helpful in understanding this view of the millennium: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonsspeaker&sermonID=9130414633

I can't accept that. I agree on the first. here's the second

The Dead Are Judged

11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This refers to BOTH those who have and do not have their names written in the Book of Life. Not just unbelievers rejecting the gospel.

Not sure if this is what you meant Paul but the Standards absolutely only allow for one general resurrection of the just and unjust at the same time:

We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust
The Westminster Larger Catechism Question 87.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Paul manata
Originally posted by Peter
Originally posted by Paul manata
I think that: (1) the first resurrection is regeneration. (2) The confession onloy allows for one resurrection so I don't think the puritans held to two, did they?

""Puritan Postmillennialism" teaches that the millennium is a prolonged period of time where satans power in opposing the gospel is limmited and the gospel advances exponentially."

This is what Bahsne et al teaches as well. I thought Puritan teaches s literal 1000 yeas.

Yes, this view like other nonpremillennial views teaches there is one general resurrection and judgment at the end of the age after Christ's return. However, neither resurrections spoken of in Rev 20 are the literal bodily resurrection. The resurrection of life is the beginning of the 1000yrs when the gospel will be accepted. The resurrection of the ungodly is when the gospel will again be rejected, "satan's little season." I found this lecture helpful in understanding this view of the millennium: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonsspeaker&sermonID=9130414633

I can't accept that. I agree on the first. here's the second

The Dead Are Judged

11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This refers to BOTH those who have and do not have their names written in the Book of Life. Not just unbelievers rejecting the gospel.

Paul, this refers to the judgment not the resurrection.

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

According to this interpretation, the reigning witnesses are the spiritual heirs of the martyrs. The 1st resurrection is the commencement of millennium, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit yet to happen. The resurrection of the "rest of the dead" represents the end of the 1000 years when Satan is loosed and the church oppressed again. Paul, do you think there will be a final apostacy ?

Those presently holding this view, such as Rev. Silversides, believe the millennium is yet to come, but I wonder, assuming "Puritan postmill" is true, has it already past? I believe the notes on Revelation in the Geneva Bible say the millennium began around Christs advent and ended when Pope Gregory VII ascended the pontifical throne (which by the way is a literal 1000yrs). Perhaps a better interpretation is that the period between the 1st Reformation and the end of the 2nd is the millennium and we are currently in satans little season? Food for thought but i dont think either period fully accomplished the optimistic prophecies of the OT or New.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by Paul manata
yes, I think there will be a final apostacy..

I don't think we are in the apostacy. I believe Satan is still bound. I don't think we have had a worldwide "golden-age" due to the preaching of the gospel. Christ still has more enemies to put under his feet.

I agree. If the world is getting worse and worse, how can there be an apostasy. Apostasies happen when the people abandon the good (the gospel in our case) for the anti-gospel. In other words, they happen when a definite period of "good stuff" (for lack of a better phrase) is abandoned for humanistic statism. If things are getting worse and worse, what is there to apostasize from?
 

DeafPosttrib

Inactive User
an outpouring of the Holy Spirit yet to happen

Holy Spirit already outpouring upon Christians at Pentacost day of Acts chapter 2, nearly 2,000 years ago. We already have the Holy Spirit to carry the gospel to the world today.


do you think there will be a final apostacy?

We already see so many apostasies everywhere over the world. Apostasy have been occured long, long time ago since Early Church hisotry to today. Apostasy is continue getting worser throughout daily, it will be continue till the climax peak, then God knows when the right time, and will allow Satan to be loosed out of the way, and to revealed - 2 Thess. 2:3, 6-8; Rev. 17:8; & Rev. 20:3,7.


I don't think we are in the apostasy

Paul, cannot you see apostasy is already happening everywhere over the world? So many Christians already depart from the faith, depart from truth. Also, we already see so many false prophets are rise everywhere since early Church to today according to 1 John 4:1. We already see there are so many false religions spread over the world. Obivously, we are in apostasy. It already spread long, long time ago.

Paul,

I ask you, are you postmil?

In Christ
Rev. 22:20 -Amen!
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon [4] his shoulder,
and his name shall be called [5]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


Phiilip,
What time period does this passage refer to?

Also,
Isaiah 65:20
"No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. "

WHen does this happen? Many premillennarians will say that this is the messianic reign of Christ after Christ comes back to establish the New Jerusalem; a place where sin, death, pain does not dwell, if you will. Now as glorious as this language is (Lord hasten the day!), it describes aspects of life that should not happen in the personal reign of Christ (death of an infant....death at 100 years....sinner.

Now the postmillennial (and amillennial too, why not?) can account for the deaths of infants (on a horizontal leveL), old people, and the abiding effects of sin because we see the coming of the kingdom as gradual (and triumphant).
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Paul manata
I don't think we have had a worldwide "golden-age" due to the preaching of the gospel. Christ still has more enemies to put under his feet.

:amen:

Holy Spirit already outpouring upon Christians at Pentacost day of Acts chapter 2, nearly 2,000 years ago. We already have the Holy Spirit to carry the gospel to the world today.

I meant a future date when the Holy Spirit causes a massive amount of conversions.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The difference I see between any Postmillennialism of the past and modern Postmillennialism is that the former seems to be more an afterthought to theology, while the latter seems more to impose itself on theology. Now I don't know if that's particularly Puritans campared to Rushdoony, but I do think it is a significant shift.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Look at it from another angle (I essentially agree with you, John): the modern postmillennarians, even myself to a degree, view the visible triumph of Christ an essential part of the gospel proclamation.

That is a HIGHLY simplistic explanation, but it was the best I cuold do at the moment.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jacob:

That's what I mean. Some have told me that the Westminster Assembly was decidedly Postmillennial. Is it not strange, then, that this does not come to the fore, and that denominations such as the OPC have declared that Amillinnialism and historic Premillennialism do not fall outside the very same Confessional stand that the Westminster Assembly took? But in our day we have separate movements within the church which turn on the idea of Postmillennialism. That is quite a difference when you think about it.
 

ConfederateTheocrat

Puritan Board Freshman
Forget the differences between classical and theonomic postmillennialism, I just wish someone could explain to me why so many 'Puritans' on this site are amillennial.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by ConfederateTheocrat
Forget the differences between classical and theonomic postmillennialism, I just wish someone could explain to me why so many 'Puritans' on this site are amillennial.

Because there is virtually no difference between an optimistic amil (i.e. classic amil as opposed to William Cox) and a Puritan postmil. That is why the distinction between classical and theonomic postmil is necessary. That is where the real difference lies.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Is the term "optimistic" even necessary anymore? I thought that this terem was introduced by the theonomic postmil-ers, as a form of accusatory rhetoric? That has been diffused or discredited a long time ago. The only thing that it can refer to anymore is to the state of the world in the fulfilling of prophecies, and not the the view itself. There is no such thing as a pessimistic theological eschatology.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by ConfederateTheocrat
Forget the differences between classical and theonomic postmillennialism, I just wish someone could explain to me why so many 'Puritans' on this site are amillennial.

Because there is virtually no difference between an optimistic amil (i.e. classic amil as opposed to William Cox) and a Puritan postmil. That is why the distinction between classical and theonomic postmil is necessary. That is where the real difference lies.

Fred, that is what this thread is about- the difference between Puritan postmillennialism and other eschatologies. Actually, optimistic Amil and what the "Postmill" theonomists believe in are the same (read earlier posts)! Puritan postmill is the one that is different. By optimistic I mean someone that believes in the sucess of the gospel in history and before the coming of Christ. Classical amills and premills are called pessimistic because they believe things will get progressively worse until the 2nd advent. "Postmillennial" has come to refer to anyone who has an optimistic view of history, even though they have an Amill millennial structure.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Peter,

I really don't understand what you are getting at here. It may be that Rev. Sildersides is expressing himself unlcearly, or that he is just plain wrong. But it is wrong to say that the Puritans espoused a different eschatology than the classic amil or postmil view (which is essentially the same). The Larger Catechism makes clear that the resurrection in unto judgment, not an end in itself. There are not two distinct events. No Puritan that I know of would say that there is a resurrection followed by a 1000 year period and then judgment. That is the error of premils. One general resurrection (per WLC 87) makes it impossible to have a judgment not at the same time as the resurrection - would the wicked be raised and "hang around" for 1000 waiting to be judged? There is no otehr option with one general resurrection.

The classic amil view is NOT pessimistic. It is the modified amil view from those who have left Dispensationalism and hold to a modified amil scheme (e.g. William Cox). Amillenials always believed in the progressive success of the gospel. Their difference from theonomic postmils is what that success looks like. For the theonomist that success is measured more objectively - the nature of the government, the expresion of its laws, etc.

The Theonomic postmil view is not really much about the nature of the millennium as it is about the view of God's Church.

Have you read Iain Murray's The Puritan Hope? That would be a much better source for you than a random lecture.
 

ConfederateTheocrat

Puritan Board Freshman
The Puritan Postmillennialism is far from classic (optimistic) amillennialism. If anything, theonomic postmillennialism, as espoused by Rushdoony, has much more in common with "optimistic amillennialism" than Puritan postmillennialism.

Think about it:

1. Rushdoony interpreted the millennium to be the period of time from Christ's first, to His second, coming. + 1 for Amillennialism

2. Rushdoony was an idealist. + 1 for Amillennialism

3. Rushdoony held to theonomy, and believed the millennium would be characterized by the world kingdoms establishing Mosaic law. -1 for Amillennialism

-----------------------------------------------------------

1. The Puritan postmillennialists interpreted the millennium to be a future, literal thousand years in which they ushered in Christ's kingdom. - 1 for Amillennialism

2. The Puritans were historcist - neither -1 nor + 1 for Amillennialism, but most Amills are idealist (like Rushdoony)

3. The Puritans were arguably theonomic. -1 for Amillennialism

The score is this, Rushdoony postmillennialism has one point, and Puritan postmillennialism has negative two points.

Clearly, "Rushdoony" postmillennialism has more in common with optimistic amillennialism than Puritan postmillennialism.

A rebuttal, please.

[Edited on 12-5-2004 by ConfederateTheocrat]
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by ConfederateTheocrat
The Puritan Postmillennialism is far from classic (optimistic) amillennialism. If anything, theonomic postmillennialism, as espoused by Rushdoony, has much more in common with "optimistic amillennialism" than Puritan postmillennialism.

Think about it:

1. Rushdoony interpreted the millennium to be the period of time from Christ's first, to His second, coming. + 1 for Amillennialism

2. Rushdoony was an idealist. + 1 for Amillennialism

3. Rushdoony held to theonomy, and believed the millennium would be characterized by the world kingdoms establishing Mosaic law. -1 for Amillennialism

-----------------------------------------------------------

1. The Puritan postmillennialists interpreted the millennium to be a future, literal thousand years in which they ushered in Christ's kingdom. - 1 for Amillennialism

2. The Puritans were historcist - neither -1 nor + 1 for Amillennialism, but most Amills are idealist (like Rushdoony)

3. The Puritans were arguably theonomic. -1 for Amillennialism

The score is this, Rushdoony postmillennialism has one point, and Puritan postmillennialism has negative two points.

Clearly, "Rushdoony" postmillennialism has more in common with optimistic amillennialism than Puritan postmillennialism.

A rebuttal, please.

[Edited on 12-5-2004 by ConfederateTheocrat]

Where are you getting your information on Puritan eschatology?

Also, who said most amils were idealist?
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I've been reading these posts and hardly any of the descriptions of the millennial views line up with the views that I have encountered. The theonomic Postmil view that I encountered has the main characteristic emphasis of arrogance, and takes a decidedly neo-Postmillennial view of an impending earthly Kingdom of Christ. I mean immediately; if you're Amil, then you're standing in the way; if you're not Reconstructionist then you have to get in line with good Reformed theology, etc. Regardless of the particular views they held, this was the main characteristic. In other words, eschatology came before theology; you had to understand that Christ's kingdom was coming in order to understand any other part of Scripture.

I grew up with what I took to be "pessimistic" Amillennialism. That is, history will show that the cultural and moral structures are going to come under the influences of evil more and more. Yet this in no way impedes the gospel to those whom God calls as His own. Nor does it diminish or weaken the strength of the truth or of faith for those who believe. In fact believers will become more victorious in their faith in such times.

Somehow I get the idea that this is not the "pessimistic" Amillennialism that is mentioned in this thread.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Peter,

I really don't understand what you are getting at here. It may be that Rev. Sildersides is expressing himself unlcearly, or that he is just plain wrong. But it is wrong to say that the Puritans espoused a different eschatology than the classic amil or postmil view (which is essentially the same). The Larger Catechism makes clear that the resurrection in unto judgment, not an end in itself. There are not two distinct events. No Puritan that I know of would say that there is a resurrection followed by a 1000 year period and then judgment. That is the error of premils. One general resurrection (per WLC 87) makes it impossible to have a judgment not at the same time as the resurrection - would the wicked be raised and "hang around" for 1000 waiting to be judged? There is no otehr option with one general resurrection.

The classic amil view is NOT pessimistic. It is the modified amil view from those who have left Dispensationalism and hold to a modified amil scheme (e.g. William Cox). Amillenials always believed in the progressive success of the gospel. Their difference from theonomic postmils is what that success looks like. For the theonomist that success is measured more objectively - the nature of the government, the expresion of its laws, etc.

The Theonomic postmil view is not really much about the nature of the millennium as it is about the view of God's Church.

Have you read Iain Murray's The Puritan Hope? That would be a much better source for you than a random lecture.

Fred, you've missed what I've been saying (probably my fault). The puritans (according to silversides) definiately **did** believe in 1 general (bodily) resurrection and 1 general judgment. What Im saying is that they believed the 2 resurrections in Rev 20 were allegorical and neither represents the LITERAL BODILY RESURRECTION. So the puritan view of the last days looks this:

1. First coming of Christ
2. The gospel is opposed the saints are martyred for their witness of Jesus
3. Binding of satan and resurrection of saints- symbolizes turning point when the millennium begins, the gospel will advance and satans power to oppose it will be halted
4. The 1000 years (not literal), the saints are given judgment- symbolizes a prolonged period of time when the gospel will advance, all nations kiss the Son, and all peoples turn to the Lord.
5. Satan loosed, resurrection of the rest of dead and Satan's little season- Satan will again be allowed to oppose the gospel and the saints will again die for their testimony.
6. Return of Christ, bodily resurrection of all the dead, white throne judgment of all.

This stands opposed to Theonomic Postmillennialism and Amillennialism which views *all* the last days as the millennium, which goes something like:
1. Satan bound, millennium begins- 1st coming of Christ
2. 1st resurrection- spiritual
3. 2nd resurrection- literal general resurrection
4. General judgment

It may be that Amillennialism used to have optimistic connotations but not any longer. I think thats why the theonomists (or any modern Postmill that follows the latter scheme) choose to call themselves "Postmillennial" even though they are really amill. They've just applied an optimistic view of history to the Amillennial view of the millennium.
 
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