Famous Postmillennials (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Version)

In this ongoing series, I would like to highlight that it is not only scholarly Presbyterians and wayward Baptists who affirmed postmillennial.Southern Seminary itself wrote affirms that “The eschatology of key Baptist leaders in the 19th century tended to be predominantly postmillennial;” so it should come as no surprise that the founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary held this view of the millennium. The original founder was James Petigru Boyce, and he was joined by John A. Broadus, and Basil Manly Jr.

jamespetriguboyce James Petigru Boyce

The foremost founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary affirmed a variation of Postmillennial theology in his Abstract of Systematic Theology when he wrote

(4.) The interpretation of this passage which makes it harmonious with all other Scripture is, (a.) That the resurrection is a spiritual resurrection of the soul from the death of sin, of which Scriptures elsewhere speak so plainly as being a passage from death unto life. See John 5:24-26; Rom. 6:2-7; Eph. 2:1, 5; 5:14; Phil. 3:10, 11; Col. 2:12, 13; 1 John 3:14; 5:11, 12. (b.) That the second death, which has no power over those which have part in the first resurrection, constitutes the punishment of those condemned at the judgement day, which consists in their being cast, both body and soul, into a lake of fire. (c.) The thousand years of the binding of Satan is a period of time, of unknown, perhaps of indefinite length, possibly from the time of Christ’s conquest of Satan, in his death, resurrection, and ascension, or possibly from some other period, even perhaps of a later epoch in the history of Christianity, during which Satan is restrained from the exercise of the power he might otherwise put forth against man; the thousand years terminating at some time prior to the day of Christ’s second coming; at which time Satan shall be loosed to consummate his evil deeds by such assaults upon the saints as shall bring down the final vengeance of God at the appearing of Christ in glory. (d.) The judgement and the resurrection, in Rev. 20:12, 13, are general, and are those of the last day which immediately follow the coming of Christ.

johnbroadusJohn A. Broadus

Though some have written that Broadus was guarded in terms of his eschatology, we have evidence that his own views were postmillennial and leaned toward the idealist viewpoint. As a background, we have a copy of the syllabus from the class that Broadus taught about Revelation. Broadus remains guarded on his position until the very last page of the syllabus until he reaches the idealist view of Postmillennialism. Herein he writes:

“Millennium in modified sense-Fairbairn, Milligan. Fairbairn’s view: Millennium before second Advent, but indefinite as to time. Consisting only in greater prevalence of Christianity than ever before, and its introduction constitutes in one sense a coming of Christ-there will be many comings.

Milligan compares Ezek. 39:9-12 to show that seven years, seven months, there signify only complete destruction 01′ cleansing, not denoting a particular period of time. So he thinks here–1000 years denoting completeness of Christ’s reign–1000 being a favorite number in this book to symbolize what is perfect and glorious in the condition of Christianity, e. g. 9:4 ff.; 21:16. This quite possible.

0163872000Basil Manly Jr.

We know little about Basil Manly Jr’s eschatological beliefs. Of course, we know that Manly Jr. compiled a quasi-theonomic hymnal that held songs and poems of national repentance, nations following God’s ordinance, and nations fasting because they have turned from the law of God. We may also be encouraged to hear that he was a graduate of Princeton. We may also be encouraged by the very optimistic song he penned entitled “Soldiers of Christ, in Truth Arrayed”. But this is all we really have on the subject.

Soldiers of Christ, in truth arrayed,
A world in ruins needs your aid:
A world by sin destroyed and dead;
A world for which the Savior bled.

His Gospel to the lost proclaim,
Good news for all in Jesus’ Name;
Let light upon the darkness break
That sinners from their death may wake.

Morning and evening sow the seed,
God’s grace the effort shall succeed.
Seedtimes of tears have oft been found
With sheaves of joy and plenty crowned.

We meet to part, but part to meet
When earthly labors are complete,
To join in yet more blest employ,
In an eternal world of joy.

 

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