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Postmillennialism: Into the 20th and 21st Centuries

The 20th century has been termed, “The Violent Century,” by some historians, referring to the two great world wars, the holocaust, abortion, Soviet and Chinese communism killing millions of their own people, famines, the AIDS epidemic, etc., all happening on a global scale. Despite all of these obstacles, the Kingdom of God has grown and multiplied.

During the same period, the greatest number of conversions to the Christian faith occurred. Remarkably, this exponential growth has occurred at an even higher rate than the staggering world population explosion. With a tremendous increase in world population has come an even greater increase in the total number of Christians. This great number of conversions has occurred despite great violence and persecutions against the Church.

According to the U.S. Center for World Mission, Christian evangelism in the last 100 years has reached a growth curve which is now increasing exponentially. Comparing the percentage of Christians in the total world population, the following statistics have been noted.

The U.S. Center for World Mission defines a Christian as a person who has had a born-again experience, attends a church service at least twice a week, and prays at least once a month for world evangelization.

In viewing these ratios on the graph above, one can see a rapid increase of Christians toward the year 2020. This dramatic increase shows the impact that the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s, the First and Second Great Awakenings of the following centuries, and the Holiness and Pentecostal Revivals at the turn of the 20th century have had on world evangelization.

While many people might think the United States has the largest population of committed Christians, a study by the Pew Research Institute that found that the world’s most committed Christians live in Africa and Latin America.

By 2060 six of the countries with the top ten largest Christian populations will be in Africa, up from three in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center report in 2019. The projections are in line with the gradual shift that has increasingly seen Christian populations on the rise in the Third World. The size of the Christian population in Nigeria alone – already the largest on the continent – is projected to double by 2060. In addition, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya are projected to join the list of countries with the top ten largest Christian populations, replacing Russia, Germany and China.

In 1976, the U.S. Center for World Mission numbered at least 24,000 distinct ethnic groups that can be viewed in biblical terms as the ethne, “the nations,” or “people groups,” that must be reached with the gospel in order to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). Of these 24,000 people groups, there were 10,000 that had an indigenous witness in the form of churches made up of people from their own culture. This left 14,000 people groups which still must be reached with the Gospel in order for the Great Commission to be fulfilled.

By the year 2001, this number of unreached groups had dropped to 10,000. According to the U.S. Center for World Mission, an “unreached people group” is defined as one having less than two percent of its population as evangelical Christian. By way of disclaimer, various missions organizations number the people groups differently using varied criteria. However, using any criteria we can see a remarkable exponential increase.

With this phenomenal growth, it is possible that these remaining unreached people groups could be reached within 21st century. But we should remember the words of Jesus Christ, which have been borne out in the experience of the last century.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).

Is the world getting better or worse?

Have these gains resulted in the world becoming a better place? While people might differ in their definition of “better,” there are some real, measurable indicators of material and physical prosperity. Although material wealth is not an indicator of God’s blessing, the Bible teaches that the person who obeys the Law of God will have a longer life and material prosperity.

However, here is the irony. Evangelical Christians have become generally more pessimistic in the last 100 years. There used to be more postmillennialists who thought the world was becoming a better place due to the great missionary thrust of churches in the 1800s. Ironically, now that Christianity is the largest religion in the world, most evangelicals are premillennialists who think the world is predestined to get worse and worse until the end.

Below are some statistics for you to consider from the book by Greg Easterbrook called, The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. Note that the book is taking a purely secular perspective on how the world is getting “better.” Nevertheless, the following statistics show that disease, war and poverty are being vanquished by the progress of the Gospel.

Here are 63 indicators that the world is getting better not worse.

Hermeneutics not Zeitgeist!

If you haven’t been steeped in the dispensationalist paradigm and don’t think that the Left Behind Series is an accurate picture of what the Bible teaches about the end times, you may be scratching your head at this point and wondering.

If Postmillennialism has such an illustrious history, then how did dispensationalist premillennialism become so popular?

Some point to the split in the evangelical Church in the late 1800s as giving the impetus for the mass defection from the Puritan Hope. As liberals began to put more and more emphasis on the “social Gospel” – the care of the poor, the sick and righting social evils – they paid less and less attention to the fulcrum of social reform, the Gospel of salvation. Therefore, in a knee-jerk reaction, many well-meaning conservatives who continued to teach the Gospel of salvation and the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, slowly began to grow suspicious of any Christian movement that would champion social concerns – especially those that did it at the expense of the spiritual nature of the Kingdom of God.

Thus an entire generation of Christians threw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Then just a few decades later, they viewed the horrible atrocities committed in the two world wars and under the brutal dictatorships of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and other atheistic communist regimes.

Pretty soon, Zeitgeist (or the “spirit of the age”) began to define theology. Rather than let the Word of Truth itself guide its worldview, the Church began to let the pessimistic worldview of the daily news move its agenda toward cultural retreatism. The great irony here is that in focusing on the bad, much of the evangelical Church has ignored the great victories that have occurred under our very noses.

For the first time in history, the Church has had the opportunity to literally preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Yet at the same time, many disbelieve what has been the amazing result. Why should it be that there are more Christians in the world than ever before in history – and in fact a larger percentage of the world population is truly converted – and yet many expect things to grow worse and worse even as this success continues to grow? As Revival historian Iain Murray put it:

Why should it not be that in this era when the population of the world has reached its height, that God will show on a yet greater scale that truth is more powerful than error, grace is more powerful than sin, and that those given to Christ are indeed “as the sand which is upon the sea-shore” (Iain H. Murray, The Puritan Hope).

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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