Famous Postmillennial Theologians Pt. 4

We have so far learned that postmillennialism has not been held by men who are in the out-skirting periphery of the protestant faith. Instead, we have seen men like John Calvin, John Knox, John Owen, many other men named John,  William Perkins, Samuel Rutherford, Benjamin B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, John Cotton, Theodore Beza, Peter Martyr Vermigln, and William Carey holding the banner of a strong, biblical eschatology. So I cannot refrain from using the idiomatic phrase of our beloved infomercials to say “but wait, there’s more”. We will look at 5 more theologians who affirmed postmillennial theology and, in turn, changed the world forever.

patrick_fairbairnPatrick Fairbairn | 1805-1874

Being a Scottish Minister, Theologian, Principal, and Professor in the Free Church College in Glasgow, Fairbairn wrote a book widely recommended in the 19th century-even by Charles Spurgeon himself. In his book, Prophecy viewed in respect to its distinctive nature, special function, and proper interpretation (1866) Patrick Fairbairn wrote

(When John writes)’and we shall reign on the earth’ they point not only to the expected realization of their hopes, but also to the assurance which the action with the book and brought in respect to that expectation; they now seek an end desired and look for clearly in prospect. Plainly, therefore, the mystery of this book is the mystery of Christ’s cross and crown: all that is arduous in the working out of his claim to the conquest and dominion of the earth has its explanation in the difficulty of getting men within the professing church.

ahstrongAugustus H. Strong | 1836-1921

A Baptist minister well known for his Systematic Theology, Strong is a model to Reformed Baptists. His eschatology was postmillennial and here is an excerpt from his writing on the subject.

3. The precursors of Christ’s coming.(a) Through the preaching of the gospel in all the world, the kingdom of Christ is steadily to enlarge its boundaries, until Jews and Gentiles alike become possessed of its blessings and a millennial period is introduced in which Christianity generally prevails throughout the earth. (Dan 2:44-45; Matt 13:31-32; 24:14; Rom 11:25-26; Rev 20:4-6; Col 1:23)

(b) There will be a corresponding development of evil, either extensive or intensive, whose true character shall be manifest not only in deceiving many professed followers of Christ and in persecuting true believers, but in constituting a personal Antichrist as its representative and object of worship. This rapid growth shall continue until the millennium, during which evil, in the person of its chief, shall be temporarily restrained. (Matt 13:30, 38; 24:5, 11, 12, 24; Luke 21:12; 2 Thess 2:3-4, 7-8)

(c) At the close of this millennial period, evil will again be permitted to exert its utmost power in a final conflict with righteousness. This spiritual struggle, moreover, will be accompanied and symbolized by political convulsions and by fearful indications of desolation in the natural world. (Matt 24:29-30; Luke 21:8-28)\

hodge-archibald-alexanderA. A. Hodge | 1823-1886

The Principal of Princeton Theologian Seminary from 1878-1886, A. A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and was a presbyterian minister. Hodge famously generalized his eschatology by writing

“The process by which this kingdom grows through its successive stages towards its ultimate completion can of course be very inadequately understood by us. It implies the ceaseless operation of the mighty power of God working through all the forces and laws of nature and culminating in the supernatural manifestations of grace and of miracle. The Holy Ghost is everywhere present, and he works directly alike in the ways we distinguish as natural and as supernatural—alike through appointed instruments and agencies, and immediately by his direct personal power.”

george_whitefield_28head29George Whitefield | 1714-1770

Known as America’s spiritual founding father, Whitefield was not secretive about his eschatology. Thomas Kidd’s Biography on Whitefield is explicit in its enumeration of Whitefield’s eschatology wherein he writes

Although Whitefield did not make eschatology, or the study of the of the last days, a central point of his preaching, he did regard the current time to be the “midnight state of the church.” A “Glorious Day,” however, was approaching, when legions would come to new faith in in Christ.

samuelhopkinsclergymanSamuel Hopkins | 1721-1803

Hopkins was a theologian in the late colonial era in the United States and a notorious opponent of the slave trade, being one of the first Congregationalists to oppose it.

In an article from the Christian History Institute, Steven R. Pointer gave us insight into Hopkins’ eschatology:

Samuel Hopkins was an Edwards disciple and Congregational minister in Newport, Rhode Island, who produced his own Treatise on the Millennium in 1793. Hopkins’s views anticipated tendencies that would flower in the next century.

First, he was compelled to a social activism unknown to Edwards. Since Newport was at the center of the triangular trade, involving the exchange of rum for African slaves, Hopkins launched a crusade against the trade, advocated complete emancipation, ministered to more blacks than any other New England minister, and predicted God’s judgment on the nation as long as it denied freedom to Africans.

Second, Hopkins believed that ultimately the vast majority of human beings would be saved, with the saved outnumbering the unsaved 1,000:1.

Even as Hopkins speculated about ratios, revival surged again. This wave—the Second Great Awakening in the first half of the nineteenth century—swelled the tide of millennial anticipation. So numerous and regular were the awakenings that it raised the possibility of a “perpetual revival of religion—a revival without a consequent decline.”


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