"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)

The Defective Worldview of the Pessimillennialist


by Stuart DiNenno


There’s something defective about our so-called Christian worldview if we believe that the best the church can ever hope for in this world is to be a tiny, downtrodden minority that will never be able to rightly practice Christianity because it is destined to be forever marginalized to the point that it can never expect to create a Christian society in which all of the Bible’s teaching could be applied.

If this view is correct, then why bother discussing, for example, all that the Bible has to say about law and justice, and working out all the ways that its teachings on this subject could be applied? There’s no point in even investigating what the Scriptures say on this topic if you are a pessimillennialist, because you believe that the church will never be in a position to apply the Bible’s teaching on law and justice in an actual functioning society. It is obvious that this will never be done in any nation if Christians are to be forever relegated to the fringes, so we might just as well rip out all the pages that speak of law and justice, or mark a big red N/A across all of them, because they certainly are not applicable to us. And the same could be said for a variety of scriptural doctrines that apply to the culture of a nation, rather than to individuals, the immediate family, or church congregations.

And why lament the apostasy around us, if this position is correct? If Christians are never to have dominion over nations in this world and implement God’s law over them, then why should we be distressed when the wicked fill the vacuum and institute Satan’s lawlessness? If “my kingdom is not of this world” means that there is never to be an earthly manifestation of the kingdom of heaven, or at least that it is never to he manifested in thoroughgoing Christian societies, as pessimillennials hold, then we are only complaining against God’s will when we complain about the fact that our nation has become thoroughly Anti-Christian. Should we not rather accept this circumstance joyfully and be careful not do anything to oppose it? Why would we want to oppose a state of being that God has ordained perpetually until the end of time?

If these people were right, then the compartmentalization of Christianity down to a religion that only applies to the private home life of the immediate family, and to the few hours of church assembly, would not be the erroneous reduction of the faith that it quite obviously is, but it would actually be the orthodox Christian faith, and it would be a foolish and pointless pursuit to even ponder the application of biblical teachings to every facet of mankind’s existence in this world, because it would be the case that God has ordained us to never be in a position to implement all of them.

2 thoughts on “The Defective Worldview of the Pessimillennialist”

  1. R.L. Dabney, in an address at Davidson College (The Duty of the Hour) in 1868, said: “It is not a new thing in the history of men that God appoints to the brave and true the stern task of contending and falling in a righteous quarrel.” He may have had in mind God’s commission of Isaiah, where the prophet must have come to your conclusion in the the face of no encouraging prospect of success, asking, “How long?” only to receive the answer, “until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate.” Is. 6:11.

    As for “lamenting the apostasy around us” a “mark is set upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations done in the midst thereof” in Ezekiel 9:4. The context suggests to me that they’re in the minority.

    “Why would we want to oppose a state of being that God has ordained perpetually until the end of time?” And again, Dabney would reply, “It’s only the atheist who adopts success as the criterion of right.” If we look at the roll call of the faithful in Hebrews 11, they (almost all) loved not their lives even to the death, and THAT was their victory in this world: the victory over self.

    I agree with so much of what you write, and even agree with the postmillenialists as regards the authentic work of Christians, but I know of many in history who fought just as earnestly and with just as much fervor, even when they knew their cause (as regards this world) was lost; and somehow, they’re the ones I find most inspirational.

    Reply
    • I don’t deny that the examples you gave are a form of victory but none of them preclude victory for the church in the progression of history and I believe that the church will have that victory in this world.

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