Postmillennialism has, as of recent, become the rage in online discourse and in popular books like Stephen Wolfe’s Christian Nationalism. This has been curious to me as a pastor in the Reformed tradition due to the fact that most Christians recognize that we have come to the end of Christendom in America.
If we were witnessing widespread repentance in America and people falling at the feet of Jesus, then I might be able to take the current popularity of postmillennialism more seriously, but it strikes me as odd that in the midst of the sweeping moral revolution that characterizes our time, all of the sudden the idea of a golden age breaking into America is finding great approbation in certain quarters of the American church. What gives? Championing postmillennialism and dominion victory at a moment in history when the church is on the brink of serious persecution feels more like a desperation cry and a last-ditch effort to save an incompatible eschatology with life in America.
Whatever the case, what interests me is something that was emphasized at the recent Bahnsen conference that was held out as a problem for all other views of the coming of Christ’s kingdom. Both Jeff Durbin and Doug Wilson presented a particular verse in 1 Corinthians 15 as the verse that makes postmillennialism an insurmountable conclusion in the face of other eschatologies. That verse is 1 Corinthians 15:25: “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
This verse was championed as the verse that convinced both Durbin and Wilson of their postmillennial position. Durbin accused all other views of “leaving out Christ’s total victory in this age” claiming that Christians today are slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken on this point. The defeatists of our age, said Durbin, are “missing the big-ticket items” of what Christ will do to his enemies before the Parousia. I Cor. 15:25, Durbin assures us, provides a timeline of what to expect before the resurrection. He will visibly put all rulers and authorities under his feet in great dominion for all to see.
Wilson similarly expressed, after reading David Chilton, that when he came across 1 Cor. 15:25, something snapped in his head and his postmillennial view began to assemble. This was the great verse that taunted him to become a postmillennial. On a personal note, I had no idea that 1 Cor. 15:25 is the verse that postmillennials are hanging their hat upon to prove their position. This was surprising to me, not only because I warn everyone to be cautious of building a doctrine on a single verse but, more importantly, no careful attention was given to what the apostle is actually doing in 1 Corinthians 15 as a whole. Read more»
Chris Gordon | The Postmillennial Problem | January 12, 2023
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