Gary North defeated my eschatology

I’ve defended historic premillennialism for the last five to seven years. I’m coming to a Reformed position–the Reformers’ position.   I don’t want to say postmillennialism for a few reasons: 1) I am not persuaded that some forms of postmillennialism can account for certain NT passages and 2) too many people wrongly associate it with theonomy and the Christian Reconstruction movement.  Granted, that is their ignorance and not my problem, but I don’t want to deal with the drama right now.  I recently finished North’s Millennialism and Social Theory.  Here is what I took from it:

  1. Does God impose sanctions on nations that break his Law?  It appears that he does.  While the causality between obedience and sanctions is not a strict 1:1, over the long run there is a pattern.  As David Chilton points out in Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators,  few (any?) Protestant nations have ever suffered a catastrophic famine.  Not because they have never had bad weather or conditions, but because of the Puritan work ethic heritage they are able to save and adapt.   By contrast, those countries whose religious conditions gave rise to Revolutionary socialism routinely experience these catastrophes.
  2. In Matthew 25 when Jesus is dividing the sheep and the goats, he does so in terms of nations.  Of course, we don’t want to jettison the need for individual conversion and appearing before God, but the thrust of the passage seems to be on nations, not individual souls.   It’s only a small step from here to social covenanting.
  3. Isaiah 2 says we will know the kingdom is advancing because nations abide by God’s law.  (I challenged some Orthodox Bridge guys on God’s law and they never really responded).  This is an epistemological argument:   we will know the kingdom is advancing because of the specific outward conditions (other things being equal, of course).
  4. North gives a detailed analysis of Isaiah 65:20. It is a spear-thrust through the heart of any form of amillennialism.

I don’t think North’s sanctions-eschatology full defeats all of historic premillennialism, but it does serve as a good platform.

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3 comments on “Gary North defeated my eschatology

  1. Benjamin P. Glaser says:

    Good thoughts Jacob. I somewhat recently moved from Partial-Preterism to Historicism. That particular book by North is really good and I wholeheartedly agree that Amillennialism cannot answer Isaiah 65-66.

  2. I am mostly a historicist, but I don’t call myself postmil at the moment.

  3. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Given 3, we’d also “know” when the Kingdom is retreating by doing a legal analysis of contemporary society…an argument many people use (in an off-the-cuff manner) against North.

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