In a previous post, I wrote about five notable postmillennial theologians. You may be surprised to find that postmillennialism is not quite so uncommon as some would like to think. Here is the second part of the continued series on famous theologians who were postmillennial.
I’ve heard many times that postmillennialism contradicts persecution and martyrdom. You’ve read Foxe’s book of Martyrs and if you haven’t, you probably hold it in high regard. You may or may not know that Foxe himself was a postmillennial. He actually wrote a play entitled “Christus Triumphans” wherein he states his eschatological view. This in itself should make you rethink the false dichotomy of martyrdom and a positive view of eschatology. He often spoke triumphantly of the church through Christ and that he looks forward to “a this-worldly future and penultimate time of peace and victory for the protestant cause, however short”.
French theologian, scholar, and reformation aid, Beza was also a postmillennial. Theologian Thomas Brightman wrote that Beza said the earth would “be restored from death to life again, at the time when the Jews should also come, and be called to the profession of the Gospel.”
Peter Martyr Vermigli
Born in Italy, born Pietro Martire Vermigli was an Italian-born reformer. He led the way for many other Italian-born reformers as well. He was a postmillennnial and one of the ways we know is in the way he interpreted Romans. Vermigli took the quote ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ in Romans 11:25 to mean that the “Messiah’s kingdom among the Gentiles would have reached its fullest development, indeed its consummation, by the time Israel is called”.
Most notably known as the father of modern missions, Carey was also a postmillennial theologian. This little-known fact has tragically been overlooked in every single one of his biographies. Yet about Carey Richard Bauckham wrote “The Postmillennialism of the eighteenth century played an important role in the development of Anglo-America missions. In the light of chiliastic expectations, British and American revival movements were considered the first signs of a great wave soon to engulf the whole world. Not only Edwards but also English (Isaac Watts, Philipp Doddridge) and Scottish (John Willison, John Erskine) theologians related Postmillennial eschatology with revival and with the missionary idea – a combination which gave rise to the growth of organized missionary activity at the end of the century. Carey, for example, was strongly influenced by the Postmillennial view of a universal Kingdom of God.” and Carey himself wrote “”It has been said that some learned divines have proved from Scripture that the time is not yet come that the heathen should be converted; and that first the witnesses must be slain, and many other prophecies fulfilled. But admitting this to be the case (which I much doubt) yet, if any objection is made from this against preaching to them immediately, it must be founded on one of these things; either that the secret purpose of God is the rule of our duty, and then it must be as bad to pray for them, as to preach to them; or else that none shall be converted in the heathen world till the universal downpouring of the Spirit in the last days. But this objection comes too late; for the success of the gospel has been very considerable in many places already.”
Influential cleric and Cambridge theologian, some actually see Perkins as the founder of Postmillennial thought. Perkins was also a great leader during the puritan movement in England in the late 16th century. He wrote “A fruitful Dialogue Concerning the End of the World” wherein he writes his millennial views, the future of the kingdom of Christ, and that Christians should not pay much attention to those who focus too much on future prophesies. He specifically also denounced the future coming of much in Revelation 20 and looked forward to the growth of the kingdom of Christ.