Questions & Answers

Postmillennialism's literalism error?

Dr. Gentry:

I have a question for you. I recently heard a postmill/amill debate. The amill gave a criticism against postmill that I am really stuck on. Maybe you can help.

He said that postmills apply the restoration Psalms and prophecies like dispensationalists do, in a literalistic, types and shadows fashion. For example, regarding Psalm 2:8 the amill said that postmills apply the terms 'nations' and 'earth' in a way that Jesus and the apostles never intended (political entities, etc.). From his perspective, the NT teaches that for Christ to make the nations and earth His footstool refers to the salvation of the Gentiles from every tribe tongue and nation, not Christ's influence on political structures, etc. I think this is a good argument and I am a bit stumped. Can you help me?

J.B.

Dr. Gentry's response:

Thanks for your question. I don't see where the problem is in this critique of postmillennialism. I would note the following:

  1. Be careful not to throw out all literalism just because dispensationalism wrongly uses it.
  2. I don't see the problem with using Psa 2:8 as evidence of postmillennialism. That is, I don't understand what the issue of "political entities"/ "political structures" has anything to do with the amill/postmill debate here. Even setting aside the idea that particular political entities are in view here, the fact remains that the psalm declares that Christ will make "the nations" (whatever they are) and "the very ends of the earth" his possession. He is not speaking merely of converts out from the nations, but the nations and the very ends of the earth themselves. The psalm appears to be speaking of some sort of global dominance.
  3. Nevertheless, I would note that David calls upon the kings and judges of the earth to do homage to the Son (Psa 2:10-12). It seems he goes to great lengths to speak of not only people in general (nations and ends of the earth) but even their political rulers and judges.
  4. Besides all of this, reducing the significance of Psa 2 would not affect the broader argument for postmillennialism. Postmillennialism is not a "one text" eschatological system (as premillennialism tends to be with Rev 20).