The Plague of the Modern Church

(VII) Conclusion

How we view God and Christ will determine how we view ourselves, our calling, and the end times. Our view of the end, of eschatology, depends to a large measure on our view of the beginning, and all of history, and on our doctrine of God and of salvation. Theology is a seamless document, and a man’s views of the end times are inseparable from his view of God. If he changes his mind on the one, he changes his mind on the other.[1]

The redemption that God provides through Jesus Christ means the total transformation of the individual. We are not talking perfectionism: we are referring to transformation. The Christian has been given the free gift of righteousness, meaning he has right-standing with God, and is no longer subject to sin and the devil. The implications of this are huge, both for him and for his future, as he becomes an ambassador for Christ (II Cor.5:20). Not only will he go to heaven when he dies, he has confidence in the promises and faithfulness of God in this life, so that he can view the future with great hope, both in terms of himself, his family, and the impact of the church in the world, both locally and internationally.

How can this be? Because the Christian knows that God controls the future through His sovereign power, and that therefore “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Ro.8:28).

God provides the Christian has great stability and security concerning his future. The Bible actually says of God that “He will be the stability of your times…” (Isa.33:6). Yes, God does permit various trials and problems to come our way, which are part of His plan to refine and mature His people. But because God loves His people, the Christian person is granted tremendous assurance that his life is safely in God’s hands.

And there is much more to this than merely individual stability and security. The transformation of the individual, the family and the church make a way for the total dominance of the kingdom of God in the world. It ultimately means the total reconstruction of society, government and law according to the scriptures, so that God is honoured amongst the nations of the world, in word and deed.

This can never come about through any other means, than the consistent preaching of the gospel, and the obedience of the church to the commands of scripture, as Christ’s faithful ambassadors. It is a logical outcome of us obeying the commands, such as “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph.4:15). After all, the scripture promises us that “many nations will be joined to the Lord in that day and will become My people…” (Zech.2:10). Such grand promises of scripture must be fulfilled, and God has laid the groundwork for this through the work of Jesus Christ.

But the premillennial position is one of pessimism about the future. It doesn’t leave the believer with any confidence about what can be accomplished. Oh sure, some people may be converted, according to the premillennial position. But the future is to be a grim one, devoid of victory for the church, in time and in history. We have to be raptured so we aren’t destroyed by the Anti-Christ.

John Walvoord, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, insists: “Well, I personally object to the idea that pre-millennialism is pessimistic. We are simply realistic in believing that man cannot change the world. Only God can.” “Realism” sounds a lot better than “pessimism,” but the psychological results are the same: retreat from cultural involvement.[2]

There is a tremendous irony in this. Pessimism about their future, and their ability to defeat the inhabitants of the land, was why God excluded the first generation of the children of Israel from the promised land.

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief (Heb.3:16-19).

But Joshua and Caleb were optimists. They declared “if the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us-a land which flows with milk and honey” (Num.14:8). And the promise of God to them, has been expanded today through the Great Commission given through Jesus Christ (Mat.28:18-20), to “make disciples of all the nations…”

I don’t accept chronic pessimism about our future, because I can’t see it in the Bible. Chronic pessimism on the part of Christians is a form of unbelief. Yes, God always permits His people to undergo trials and difficulties in life; it’s been that way since Adam, as the scripture clearly attests.

Dave Hunt, a popular premillennial writer, doesn’t see the future this way. He wrote that

… dominion – taking dominion and setting up the kingdom for Christ – is an impossibility, even for God. The millennial reign of Christ, far from being the kingdom, is actually the final proof of the incorrigible nature of the human heart, because Christ Himself can’t do what these people say they are going to do.[3]

But the notion that we are somehow predestined to be always losers is inconsistent with scripture. It isn’t consistent with “they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations” (Isa.61:4). Nor is it consistent with “you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you shall boast” (Isa.61:6).

It is time for a resurrection: the resurrection of Christian hope. It is time for a parallel resurrection: the resurrection of comprehensive Christian service in every area of life. This means that it is time for Christian dominion. It is time to stop asking ourselves, “Whatever happened to heaven?” and start asking: “What ever happened to the Great Commission and the kingdom of God?” We should begin to take seriously God’s promise to the righteous man: “His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth (Psa. 25:13).”[4]

Premillennial dispensationalism has been like a modern day plague-a disaster for the church. It’s time it was buried, forever. The church needs the confidence and optimism that come from the scriptures, from legitimate postmillennial doctrine.

There are many problems we face in the church, most of which have been self-perpetuated. Jesus is not going to come back tomorrow and get us out of them-Psalm 110 makes this abundantly clear. There is no back-door exit for the church. We are to be God’s salt and light in society, not excusing ourselves, saying it was all too hard.

It’s time for the church to embrace legitimate hope again: the hope that comes from a scriptural eschatology: theonomic postmillennialism.

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “God’s Plan for Victory,” 1977, p.3.

[2] Gary North, “Rapture Fever,”1993, p.97-98.

[3] Dave Hunt, “Dominion and the Cross,” Tape 2 of “Dominion: The Word and the New World Order (1987), published by Omega Letter, Ontario, Canada. Quoted in Gary North, “Rapture Fever,” 1993, p.99.

[4] Gary North, “Rapture Fever,” 1993, p.60.