June 29, 2015

SCOTUS and Premillennialism

by Clint Archer

flagWhat the Supreme Court of the United States did last week was simply play catch-up with the many other countries that were ahead of it in the headlong pursuit of institutionalized ungodliness. South Africa’s constitution, for one sad example, protects not only same-sex marriage but also polygamy and late-term abortion.

Many other “enlightened” nations have come full circle. Having previously embraced Christian morality, and enjoyed centuries of resultant civil, educational, and legal progress, they have now begun to pine for the leeks and onions of their Egyptian slave masters who at least didn’t tell them who they could marry.

Denmark, the Netherlands, and other post-reformation societies have shrugged off the fuddy-duddy conservatisms of their puritanical forefathers and have lapped up regurgitated libertarianism artificially flavored as avant-garde progressiveness.

The USA is like a body guard of the Church. The problem is that when America shows up at the party, that means there is no one left outside to guard the door.

I can’t improve on the insight of John Piper’s jeremiad when he laments,

My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing — new for America, and new for history — is not homosexuality. … What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and revelled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.”

It isn’t easy for Christians to identify a silver lining to Friday’s ruling that is worth celebration; unless you’re a premillennialist.

Whereas postmillennialism believes that Christ will return to earth when the gospel has triumphed over unbelief and conquered the globe, premillennialists aren’t holding their breath. Premills teach that the world will slide from bad to worse until it is so irrecoverably bad that only Jesus can fix it. That will be his cue to return and establish a rule of peace, righteousness, and sanity in the courts.

So, it is on days like this that I read with relish passages that others may dismiss as pessimistic. I prefer to see regress in society as a welcome sign that the Bible is accurate, and that Jesus is coming soon. Here are a few of my favorite passages that are optimistically pessimistic…blind justice

2 Tim 3: 1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. … 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.

2 Pet 3: 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.

Matt 24: 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

I can see why people would accuse me of cynicism. But, just like Michael Burry, the guy who made $100 million by shorting the sub-prime mortgage bubble moments before it burst, I’m just betting on the inevitable. Friday’s ruling is yet another harbinger of what the Bible predicts will happen. The world will slide into a miry cesspool that no human can restore. And then Jesus will return to make all things new. Every SCOTUS faux pas is a step closer to that great day.

Clint Archer

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Clint has been the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church since 2005. He lives in Durban, South Africa with his wife and four kids.
  • Danny Barea

    Brother yet another wonderful article. Blessed by it. All of this is the outward expression of an inward reality. The highest echelons of government are marrying their sinful desires with their affluence and power. R.C. Sproul when teaching on total depravity taught that evil is displayed in different degrees. You have the Wall Street broker who lies and you have Hitler who took to genocide. Obviously, biblically both needing Christ. This is corporate government imposing individualistic sin behavior for the sake of social development. They all lack the restraining power of the Holy Spirit. Sad. The Lord was gracious to lay out in detail exactly what it would look like during the last days and now that it is televised in some respects I’m encouraged by the inerrancy of scripture and the further affirmation that we are to evangelize the lost for the sake of calling out the elect. As a nation we were headed here decades prior and next is the continued marginalizing of the Church and the eventual ostracizing of it. It is important to continue to preach on persecution and as Christians we must have our inward reality becoming an outward expression of bold evangelism.

    • Thanks for your input, Danny.

  • Bobby

    Glory be to our all knowing God, who has known the end from the very beginning.
    Who forged all of creation with an intention and brought it to be with a Word.
    Glory be to our all mighty, all sovereign God, who knowing us fully, purchased our salvation not because we were worthy of it but because He is.

    Glory be to our holy and merciful God Who has, in a nutshell, established as His most burdensome command, that we accept what is best for us.

    I do not want to see these things happen, I shudder with horror for those who so revile what God has established.
    At the same time, as these things come to pass I find joy and am uplifted that even in their animosity they Glorify God as they make war against what He has established.

    Thanks Clint, for your preaching and writing.

    • And thanks for your reading and feedback.

  • Tyler

    I’m so glad I’m an Amill guy! I can avoid the pitfalls of the other two options! 😉

    • Ha! Well, it’s better than Panmill, I guess. About a thousand times better (whatever that number means).

      • Tyler

        Hahahahahahah! Nice one! 🙂

      • Clint, that was one of the funniest responses I’ve read in awhile.

    • 4Commencefiring4

      I’ll second that. Yep, I can expect more of the same kind of headlines and not be surprised. Only, to me, when the Lord comes to set all things right, He’s going all in and setting them right forever.

  • Great opportunity for instruction and reminder, Clint. Well executed 🙂

    I read 1st Peter today and was rather blown away at is relevance to the events of the past week (and beyond)….so instructive, embolding and encouraging!

    • The word of God never gets old; only more an more relevant.

  • Matthew

    Buckle up! The days of straddling the fence are over.

    • “Will you go on limping between two opinions?” – Elijah.

  • Still Waters

    The U.S. is a bodyguard of the church? Since when? 1776? Here I thought the Church began circa 33 A.D. How did it ever survive all that time without a bodyguard?

    • I guess I meant that in modern history the US government has been one that had a reputation for guarding Christian’s freedom and way of life, as per its founding purpose. Or did my US history Cliff Notes get it wrong?

      • Still Waters

        If one examines Western history around the time of the founding of the U.S., one realizes that freedom of religion happened in various countries, if not simultaneously, at least very close together. The colonies that became the U.S. did persecute non-conformists in their early days with as much zeal as anyone in England did at the same time. Roger Williams, whose views on freedom of religion are thought to have influenced the founders of the U.S., was exiled to what would become Rhode Island. He was among the fortunate ones – others were brutally whipped, sometimes to the point of death, or thrown into prison. But by the 1770’s, non-conformists in England were tolerated, and so it was in her colonies. The U.S. just happened to be formed at a point in history where it was becoming fashionable to grant freedom of religion.

  • Mark Olivero

    “Premills teach that the world will slide from bad to worse until it is so irrecoverably bad that only Jesus can fix it.”
    – Actually it is mainly Dispensational Premils who have a pessimistic view of Gospel success such they cannot see anything but “bad to worse.” If the Gospel goes to every nation as Jesus promised then there can nothing but a point at which Gospel success reaches critical mass. The longer Jesus tarries the more likely Gospel expansion is. The “bad to worse” projection seems to also be typical of a US centric worldview. Even Christians in other countries can make this mistake of thinking – “as America goes so goes the world.” People living in the First Century had similar ideas about the almighty Roman Empire. The success of the Gospel proved them wrong.

    • You make a fair point. But I’d argue that in most countries in the world, while there has been civil and technological improvements everywhere, the Christian influence on public policy has seen its heyday (Constantine, Geneva, USA) and is now in decline. Just my opinion.

      • Robert Sakovich

        Doesn’t the Bible say that it has already gone forth to all the world?

  • With the Supreme Court ruling today on homosexual marriage God has given the U.S. over to the Devil so that the sinful nature will be destroyed I Corinthians 5:5. I think it is a good thing as the government will have to get out of the churches and all Christian ministries. Christians will have to pledge their life and treasure to standing for God’s laws. I expect to see in my lifetime more Christians going to prison in this country.

    • Possibly. And that would not be a bad thing for the purity of the Church. But also bear in mind that many countries have already got this in their law, and it hasn’t led to much more persecution. South African pastors don’t go to jail for decrying homosexuality. Yet.

      • 1redthread

        They’re being “tried” in Canada under the “Human Rights” tribunal.

        • Still Waters

          To date, only one complaint to a Human Rights Tribunal was upheld by the real courts (the HRTs are quasi-legal and thus have no real jurisdiction) and the person involved was of the Westbro ‘church’ ilk. Even in that ruling, the Court was careful to emphasize that the quoting of religious texts against homosexuality was not in itself hateful. All other HRT decisions against those opposing homosexuality which were taken to the courts have been thrown out and the HRTs are dwindling in their influence: http://news.nationalpost.com/f
          The Civil Marriage Act of 2005, which made homosexual marriage legal in Canada, also specified that no person or organization could be discriminated against for holding the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Thus far, no pastor has ever been sued for refusing to marry a homosexual couple. Contrary to popular rumour, Christians in Canada are not shaking in their shoes, waiting for the thought police to knock.

          • 1redthread

            The HRTs may be quasi-legal, but get under their eye and you’d be anxious. They destroy you financially. As a Christian living in Canada, I can tell you the concern is certainly there.

          • Still Waters

            As another Christian living in Canada, I would disagree. The concerns I have encountered are always based on old news which is no longer valid. I have noticed no wavering or softening of the line amongst orthodox believers and it has been ten years.

          • 1redthread

            I mentioned Mark Stern and Ezra Levant to make the point that the HRT isn’t just a “quasi-legal” entity to be dismissed. They have the power to ruin lives.

            To switch streams, right now Christians (And Muslim and other people of faith) in Ontario are being told that their children will be taught gender fluidity at age 8, sexual consent at age 6, etc. in school – and too bad for us. Unless we wish to home school. It’s up in the air as to if we can pull our children out of the class.

            Dismissing concerns out of hand doesn’t help. How about recognizing them? God is in control – but we should just sit back and let our children be led to slaughter without a peep?

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            How is home-schooling viewed in America and Canada?

          • Still Waters

            I was homeschooled from preschool to the end of high school. Educational standards vary from province to province (there is no federal ministry of education) but homeschoolers function in all of them. The movement seems to be gaining traction in recent years. I know far more homeschoolers now than when I was growing up. The province of Ontario actually provides funding for homeschooled teenagers high school students (Grades 9-12) to take their courses through an online educational program and there are also various other online high schools if one can afford them. If one has the credits, colleges and universities are very positive towards homeschooled students.

            Since, during the course of my education, I was brought into contact with American homeschooling programs, I can say that homeschooling is also very popular, and said to be practically encouraged by post-secondary institutions admission policies.

          • Still Waters

            Yet again, it is a matter of perspective. I have read the curriculum, and the conservative reports on the curriculum. I am bound to say that the curriculum does not say what the reports say that it says. For example, there is nothing that could be construed as teaching sexual consent in Grade 1 and I noticed nothing about gender fluidity at Grade 3 (age 8). I discussed the matter with a (orthodox) Christian whose spouse is a teacher in Ontario, and who confirmed my impression that much of the furor is not based on fact, as the most objectionable parts of it (only a few lines) were contained within the suggested teacher-student interactions and thus not actually a part of the curriculum standards.

            I was much more concerned about what was not in the curriculum – discussion about the legal age of consent – than what was there. So I do think there is area of concern. However, I also note that the even the left-wing media is reporting on this controversy and interviewing concerned parents, with apparently no fear of complaints to the HRT. So, I pray and wait to see what the outcome is.

          • 1redthread

            I agree, we have different perspectives. I’ve also read the curriculum, and I see it vastly differently.

            I think what it comes down to – why we see things differently – is that I believe there will be abuses coming. They’re just waiting for the chance. They stick their toes in from time to time to see what the reaction is. Eventually, the reaction will be tolerable to them and they’ll take the opportunity.

            Also, the left wing has no worries about the HRT. They’re both on the same side.

  • pearlbaker

    Dearest brother Clint, while I appreciate what you have said, I would add that our proper Christian response to sin as is grief (of which you wrote an excellent C-gate blog on grieving over our personal sin not that long ago: http://thecripplegate.com/do-you-grieve-over-sin/)

    Whether the sin originates with the blatant rebellious opposition to God’s Word by the homosexual (or any other sinner), or with the arrogant stupidity of our court system, or whether it originates with the lukewarm passivity of misguided professed Christians, we should mourn. Whether the sin is individual, corporate (in the church), national or the sins of the whole world, we are grieved that Almighty God, Creator of All, has been denied, defied, disobeyed and dismissed. If God is grieved over sin, and He is, then so should we be grieved.

    Regardless of the view that the increasing moral degradation of the world heralds the destruction of God’s enemies and the eternal bliss of the elect, this is not the fact upon which I would focus, especially if it runs the risk of offending the lost, with whom we are called to share the Gospel. This is indeed the prophesied outcome of which we are already assured, no matter what “mil” view a person embraces, and while we have this assurance by the grace and mercy of God, we would never want to appear puffed up. Our focus must be on loving and evangelizing the lost, including the homosexual and every other unsaved sinner (who individually may or may not be elect, we just don’t know.)

    PS: I recently listened to an older sermon by JMac, in which he jokingly defined the pan-millennialist view is (and I paraphrase) “don’t worry, it’ll all pan out.” 🙂

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