Practicing Postmillennialism


Jeffery Ventrella writes:

If theonomic postmillennialism is true—and it certainly is—then what differences here and now should this conviction make in the lives of Christians and their churches? What should be the character, and what should be the conduct of a professing postmillennialist?

…Unfortunately, theonomic postmillennialism has been maligned and even slandered as promoting either some form of social gospel or a “Jewish dream.” Nevertheless, the expositors and defenders of this optimistic eschatology have ardently underscored the gospel’s predominance in advancing God’s postmillennial victory. Indeed, the gospel’s priority in postmillennial eschatology has been set forth with utter and unmistakable clarity…

Nevertheless, it is one thing to accurately profess postmillennialism; it is quite another to practice it, that is, to function in terms of its implications. To rightly practice postmillennialism requires that one promote the primacy of the gospel. The gospel is not to be treated as a “spare tire,” simply annexed to the SUV’s of our lives and then hastily grasped only during dire emergencies.

Changing the metaphor, the gospel is not simply the “door” to a new home, something quickly left behind as one proceeds into the living quarters of the house. Rather, the gospel is life itself and it is something that needs to be preached to oneself, even (especially) after one “gets saved.”

Far too often, those holding theonomic and postmillennial convictions have expended time and effort on society’s transformation, but have neglected the cause and foundation for that transformation: the gospel. They have focused on the desired effect, rather than cultivating the necessary cause.

It is no coincidence that John Owen, the craftsman of the explicitly postmillennial Savoy Declaration, rightly warned: “He who has small thoughts of sin never has had great thoughts of God.” The gospel matters. Only a great God can transform a fallen society, a society overrun with sinful men. Yet the Lord has chosen to do just that—by the gospel. The gospel must therefore be primary, not only in theory but in practice.

The Lord in this day has graciously rekindled the vision and hope of optimistic eschatology. This generation’s postmillennialists must therefore grasp the heart of that eschatology, the transformational gospel of Christ. By the power of God, through means of God’s grace is how the serious theonomic postmillennialist operates, therefore he must promote the primacy of the gospel. Absent that emphasis, priority, and passion, one is not a true postmillennialist; rather, he is simply a vain moralistic pretender…

…true postmillennial zeal promotes the primacy of the gospel. The cross is foundational to God’s eschatological victory; in fact, the cross guarantees eschatological victory. Correlatively, theonomic postmillennialism also demands that one demonstrate evangelistic and missiological zeal as well.

Thine Is The Kingdom: Studies in the Postmillennial Hope, pp. 194-195 (edited by Kenneth Gentry). “Ventrella challenges postmillennialists themselves to commit anew to evangelism, missionary endeavors, and other practical applications of our hope. And he urges us to engage the cultural influence of our hope with an appropriate, God-honoring, Christ-glorifying humility. As an insider committed to theonomic postmillennialism, Ventrella calls upon fellow Reconstructionists to Christ-likeness in their pursuits, noting that too often our heavy-duty theology can lead to heavy-handed treatment of others.”

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